Do we need a new classification for radical hysterectomy? Insights in surgical anatomy and local tumor spread from human embryology

Gynecol Oncol. 2007 Oct;107(1 Suppl 1):S106-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2007.07.049. Epub 2007 Aug 28.


Objective: Current surgical treatment of cervical carcinoma is based on the assumption of undirected intra- and transcervical local tumor propagation and is executed by tailored excision of the paracervical tissues. We have recently demonstrated that cervical carcinoma spreads for extended phases during its malignant progression within the permissive compartment of the Müllerian morphogenetic unit (Lancet Oncol 2005;6:751-56) and proposed Müllerian compartment resection as the new principle for surgical treatment of cervical cancer. Do we need a new classification of radical hysterectomy?

Methods: The therapeutic index of the surgical treatment of cervical carcinoma FIGO stages IB1-IIB by extirpation of the Müllerian compartment through total mesometrial resection (TMMR) without adjuvant radiation is evaluated by an ongoing controlled prospective trial at the University of Leipzig.

Results: From 7/1998 to 12/2006, 163 patients with cervical carcinoma, FIGO stages IB1 (n=94), IB2 (n=21), IIA (n=14) and IIB (n=34) have been treated with TMMR and nerve-sparing therapeutic lymph node dissection. Twenty-five patients received (neo)adjuvant chemotherapy. No patient underwent adjuvant radiotherapy although 95 patients (58%) would have needed this additional modality in case of conventional radical hysterectomy because of their high-risk histopathological tumor features. At a median follow-up time of 45 months (3-104 months), recurrence-free and disease-specific overall survival is 93% and 96%. Maximum treatment-related morbidity according to the Franco-Italian score has been grade 2 in 12 patients (8%).

Conclusions: The developmental view of local tumor spread and surgical anatomy holds a great promise for improving the therapeutic index of surgical cervical cancer therapy and challenges both the classification of radical hysterectomy based on tailored paracervical resection and the indication for adjuvant radiation.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy / classification
  • Hysterectomy / methods*
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Mesoderm / pathology
  • Mesoderm / surgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Mullerian Ducts / anatomy & histology
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prospective Studies
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Uterus / anatomy & histology
  • Uterus / embryology
  • Vagina / anatomy & histology
  • Vagina / embryology