Intra-operative detection of nodal metastasis in early stage cervical cancer: a survey of the practice patterns of SGO members

Gynecol Oncol. 2011 Apr;121(1):143-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2010.12.337. Epub 2011 Jan 26.


Objectives: To determine the practice patterns of members of Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO) in different clinical situations involving the intra-operative detection of nodal metastasis in early stage cervical cancer.

Methods: A study questionnaire was mailed to the current members of SGO (n=874). Data were collected using an internet survey database. Frequency distributions were determined, and non parametric tests were performed.

Results: Thirty percent SGO members responded (n=274). Only 38.6% routinely performed an intra-operative frozen section evaluation of the lymph nodes. Of these; most (79%) did not abort the radical hysterectomy (RH) for an isolated microscopically positive pelvic lymph node. The likelihood of aborting RH for microscopic nodal involvement increased however with number of positive pelvic lymph nodes (21% with 1, 40% with 2-3, and 61% with >3 positive pelvic lymph nodes), involvement of para-aortic lymph nodes (61%), or bilaterally positive lymph nodes (54%). Similarly, a large number did not complete the RH due to gross involvement of pelvic (45%) or para-aortic lymph node/s (69%). Most (90%) completed the lymphadenectomy before aborting RH. When completing RH, the majority tailored its extent to perform a less radical resection. Variables significantly associated with the likelihood of completing RH in different clinical situations included: location of current practice (West), practice type (private), years in practice (>15 years), and number of cases seen per year (>10/month).

Conclusion: Practice patterns of SGO members are considerably diverse, which is reflective of the conflicting evidence available in the literature. Well designed studies are required to determine the best overall approach.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Frozen Sections
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy / methods
  • Intraoperative Care / methods
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / surgery*