Frozen section examination of pelvic lymph nodes in endometrial and cervical cancer: accuracy in patients submitted to neoadjuvant treatments

Gynecol Oncol. 2004 Sep;94(3):779-84. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2004.06.030.


Objective: The aim of the study was to analyze the accuracy, the positive and negative predictive values, the specificity, and the sensitivity of the pelvic node frozen section examination in endometrial (EC) and cervical cancer (CC) patients. An accurate evaluation of the results of the frozen section examination in patients submitted to neoadjuvant treatments (chemotherapy and radiochemotherapy), and a comparison between specialist and general pathologist results were performed.

Methods: A total of 186 consecutive patients with endometrial [52 cases (27.9%)] and cervical [134 cases (72.1%)] cancer underwent surgery at our Department between January 2000 and September 2003. All patients underwent a systematic pelvic lymphadenectomy. While all definitive diagnosis were primarily performed or secondarily revised by the specialist pathologist, the frozen section examination was performed in 65 (35%) cases by the specialist pathologist and in 121 (65%) cases by a general pathologist.

Results: Two thousand seven hundred eighteen out of a total of 6710 pelvic lymph nodes, which underwent a definitive histological analysis, were also analyzed at intraoperative frozen section examination. In our series, we observed 10 false negative and five false positive cases. Six out of the 10 (60%) false negative cases and two out of the five (40%) false positive were found in the neoadjuvant treated cervical cancer patients. In this subgroup, five out the six (83.3%) false negative and the two false positive diagnoses were made by the general pathologist, while the specialist pathologist registered only one false negative diagnosis.

Conclusion: Intraoperative examination of pelvic lymph nodes during surgery for endometrial and cervical cancer can be considered a safe procedure in the presence of an expert gynecologic oncological team, and can be safely performed in patients submitted to neoadjuvant treatments.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Female
  • Frozen Sections
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology*
  • Lymph Nodes / surgery
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / therapy*