The effect of age on clinical/pathologic features, surgical morbidity, and outcome in patients with endometrial cancer

Gynecol Oncol. 2006 Jun;101(3):470-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2005.11.009. Epub 2006 Jan 18.


Objective: To evaluate the effect of age on clinical/pathologic features, surgical morbidity, and outcome in patients with endometrial cancer.

Methods: All women with surgically treated endometrial cancer at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington between January 1990 and January 2000 were eligible; 396 patients underwent retrospective chart review. Statistical analysis was performed by SPSS. Median follow-up time was 33 months (range, 1 to 120 months).

Results: Age was < 45 years in 15% of patients, between 46 and 64 years in 47% of patients, and > 65 years in 38% of patients. Younger patients were statistically more obese than older patients (Body Mass Index of 40.3 kg/m2 vs. 35.3 kg/m2 vs. 31.0 kg/m2, P < 0.001). Intraoperatively, there were no differences between the three groups in the percentage of patients with lymph node sampling, operative time, blood loss, or complications. Postoperatively, older patients had more wound infections (P = 0.002), more cardiac events (P = 0.001), and more episodes of ileus (P = 0.025). Evaluation of pathology revealed that patients < 45 years old were statistically more likely to have endometrioid histology, grade I tumors, and stage IA disease. Women over age 65 were significantly more likely to have papillary serous histology, grade 3 tumors, and stage IC as compared to the younger patients. A subset analysis of patients > 75 years of age showed an increase in the percentage of patients with papillary serous histology (22% vs. 3%, P = 0.055), grade 3 disease (42% vs. 16%, P < 0.001), and stage IC disease (21% vs. 3%, P = 0.001) when compared to patients < 45 years old. Evaluation of endometrioid tumors only revealed a similar pattern of deeper myometrial invasion and higher tumor grade as age increased.

Conclusions: Younger patients with endometrial cancer are generally more obese, with lower grade, lower stage disease, and with more favorable histologic cell types. Despite this, approximately a quarter have stage II-IV disease and 9% have positive lymph nodes. The older patients represent a dramatically different subset of patients. They are more likely to have aggressive papillary serous histology, higher grade tumors, and advanced stage disease. Age should be a consideration in appropriate referrals to gynecologic oncologists.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Adenosquamous / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Adenosquamous / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / surgery
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome