A limited role for adjuvant radiotherapy after the Wertheim/Okabayashi radical hysterectomy for cervical cancer confined to the cervix

Gynecol Oncol. 1999 Nov;75(2):233-7. doi: 10.1006/gyno.1999.5555.


Background: The indications for radiotherapy after radical hysterectomy for early stage cervical cancer are changing. In the past only tumor outside the cervix was considered an indication for radiotherapy. Today adjuvant radiotherapy is also considered for an "intermediate-risk" group with tumor confined to the cervix but poor prognostic primary tumor parameters such as large tumor diameter, vascular space invasion, and deep stromal penetration.

Objective: The aims of this study were to determine the risk of isolated pelvic recurrences in an intermediate-risk group (GOG Study No. 92) and to analyze whether this group will theoretically benefit from adjuvant pelvic radiotherapy.

Patients and methods: A retrospective analysis was performed on 271 patients with early cervical cancer treated by a radical hysterectomy in a uniform fashion in one institute. Radiotherapy was administered only when tumor was found outside the cervix. Tumor diameter, capillary lymphatic space invasion, and depth of stromal penetration were assessed in all patients. Recurrence pattern, disease-specific survival, and recurrence-free interval were determined in the intermediate-risk group and compared with the remaining patients of the group with tumor confined to the cervix.

Results: A significant difference in disease-specific survival (89% versus 97%, P < 0.03) and 5-year recurrence-free interval (86% versus 95%, P < 0.02) was noted in the intermediate-risk group (n = 56) compared with the total group with tumor confined to the cervix. Three patients in the intermediate-risk group died of disease with a pelvic recurrence. Two of these patients had a combined pelvic and distant recurrence.

Conclusion: Our retrospective results fail to support a survival benefit of extending indications for adjuvant radiotherapy other than postive nodes, parametrial extension, and positive margins.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy / methods*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / epidemiology*
  • Pelvic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Pelvic Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Radiography
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / mortality
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / surgery*