Objectives: To determine whether past history of pelvic surgery is of prognostic significance in stage III epithelial ovarian cancer.
Methods: A retrospective review of 140 women with stage III epithelial ovarian cancer.
Results: Sixteen women had previously undergone pelvic surgery including eight sterilisations (6%), seven hysterectomies (5%) and one ovarian cystectomy (0.7%). Women with a past history of sterilisation were significantly younger (median age, 46 years) than women without a past history of sterilisation (median age, 63 years), and also significantly younger than women with a past history of hysterectomy (median age, 58 years). In addition, the sterilisation procedure was performed at a significantly younger age than the hysterectomy procedure (p=0.008). On multivariate analysis comparing previous pelvic surgery, previous malignancy, place of surgery, interval/secondary debulking, presence of concomitant tumour, performance of bowel surgery, histological grade, histological type, size of residual disease and age, all of the following were seen to be independent variables associated with outcome survival; previous sterilisation (p=0.0012), age (p=0.0074), histological type (p=0.025), histological grade (p=0.0017) and size of residual disease (p=0.0043).
Conclusion: Past history of sterilisation appears to be an adverse independent prognostic indicator in women presenting with stage III epithelial ovarian cancer. To have developed ovarian cancer despite the protective effects of a sterilisation procedure against environmental factors might possibly suggest a predisposition to ovarian cancer in these women. Further studies are indicated to confirm the present results.