Purpose: To examine the outcome of patients with advanced endometrial cancer whose para-aortic involvement was diagnosed pathologically or lymphographically.
Methods and materials: Fifty patients from four institutions were treated between 1959 and 1990 with preoperative, post-operative, and primary radiotherapy. Para-aortic disease was diagnosed pathologically in 26 patients and lymphographically in the remaining 24 patients. Pathologically diagnosed patients underwent debulking of grossly involved nodes. All patients received external beam treatment through pelvic and para-aortic portals. Median prescribed dose to the pelvic and para-aortic fields was 50 and 47 Gy, respectively. Those treated with primary or pre-operative irradiation also received intrauterine brachytherapy.
Results: The actuarial 5-year disease-free survival was 46% for all patients. Para-aortic failure was significantly decreased among patients undergoing lymph node resection (13% versus 39%, respectively). Relapse-free survival and pelvic control tended to improve among patients receiving surgery plus irradiation in comparison to those treated by irradiation alone. Distant metastases were most common among patients with high grade lesions.
Conclusions: Long-term disease-free survival is achievable in endometrial cancer patients with para-aortic lymphadenopathy who are treated with extended-field radiotherapy. Cure is mot attainable among patients with well differentiated, early clinical stage disease who receive combined modality treatment. Survival and local failure are similar for radiologically and pathologically diagnosed patients; however, para-aortic failure as a component of local failure was increased in patients who did not undergo surgical debulking of the adenopathy.