Value of lymph node assessment in ovarian cancer: Status of the art at the end of the second millennium

Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2000 Nov;10(6):435-442. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-1438.2000.00053.x.


Available data on the incidence and the clinical value of lymph node assessment in ovarian cancer are reported. In early ovarian cancer, positive nodes are found in 4-25% of patients. Serous adenocarcinoma and poorly differentiated tumors are characterized by the highest incidence of node metastases. Five-year survival for stage IIIC disease with only retroperitoneal spread is clearly better than for stage IIIC with intraperitoneal dissemination. In advanced ovarian cancer, the rate of node involvement ranges from 55 to 75%. The percentage of positive nodes is significantly related to the amount of residual tumor after cytoreductive surgery, and node status seems to be an important prognostic factor for survival. Although data from retrospective studies advocate a therapeutic effect for systematic lymphadenectomy, results from prospective randomized trials are warranted. After chemotherapy a high percentage of patients (range, 25-77%) are found to have metastatic nodes. In particular, at second-look laparotomy, positive nodes are detected in 17-40% of patients who have no intraperitoneal disease.