Surgically staged high-risk endometrial cancer: randomized study of adjuvant radiotherapy alone vs. sequential chemo-radiotherapy

Gynecol Oncol. 2008 Aug;110(2):190-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2008.03.020. Epub 2008 Jun 4.


Objective: Our purpose was to establish whether platinum-based chemotherapy combined with standard surgery and radiotherapy will improve overall and disease-free survival and lower the recurrence rate in patients with high-risk endometrial cancer.

Study design: A total of 156 patients with Stage IA-B Grade 3 (n=28), or Stage IC-IIIA Grade 1-3 (n=128) were postoperatively randomized to receive radiotherapy (56 Gy) only (Group A, n=72) or radiotherapy combined with three courses of cisplatin (50 mg/m(2)), epirubicin (60 mg/m(2)) and cyclophosphamide (500 mg/m(2)) (Group B, n=84).

Results: The disease-specific overall five-year survival was in Group A 84.7% vs. 82.1% in Group B (p=0.148). The median disease-free survival in A was 18 (range 9-36) months and 25 (range 12-49) months in B (p=0.134), respectively. During a five-year follow-up 32 patients relapsed. Of the recurrences 5 were local and 20 distant, while 7 were combined. As calculated from the operation, the median time to recurrence was 15 (range 6-37) months in Group A, and 20 (range 8-60) months in Group B, respectively (p=0.170). Twenty-six patients died of the disease during the five-year follow-up, 11 in A and 15 in B. The patients succumbing in A lived a median 23 (range 15-44) months as compared to 37 (range 13-50) months in B (p=0.148). Chemotherapy was associated with an acceptable rate of acute toxicity. Less than 8% of the patients complained of Grade 3/4 nausea. The rate of Grade 3/4 leucopenia was at the highest at 16.6% during the third cycle but only 6.2% of the patients had Grade 3 infection. A total of 10 patients developed intestinal complications demanding surgery, 2 in Group A (2.7%) and 8 (9.5%) in Group B, respectively.

Conclusion: Adjuvant chemotherapy with cisplatin, epirubicin and cyclophosphamide failed to improve overall survival or lower the recurrence rate in patients operated on and radiated for high-risk endometrial carcinoma. Chemotherapy was associated with a low rate of acute toxicity but appeared to increase the risk of bowel complications.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant / adverse effects
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Cisplatin / adverse effects
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Cyclophosphamide / adverse effects
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / surgery
  • Epirubicin / administration & dosage
  • Epirubicin / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant / adverse effects
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate


  • Epirubicin
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Cisplatin