Background: Lymphadenectomy is important in the surgical treatment of apparent early epithelial ovarian cancers (eEOC); however, its extent is not well defined. We evaluated the role of systematic lymphadenectomy, the risk factors related with lymph node metastases, the implications, and the morbidity of comprehensive surgical staging.
Methods: We prospectively recruited 124 patients diagnosed with apparent eEOC [International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage I and II] between January 2003 and January 2011. Demographics, surgical procedures, morbidities, pathologic findings, and correlations with lymph node metastases were assessed.
Results: A total of 111 patients underwent complete surgical staging, including lymphadenectomy, and were therefore analyzed. A median of 23 pelvic and 20 para-aortic nodes were removed. Node metastases were found in 15 patients (13.5 %). The para-aortic region was involved in 13 (86.6 %) of 15 cases. At univariate analysis, age, menopause, FIGO stage, grading, and laterality were found to be significant factors for lymph node metastases, while CA125 of >35 U/ml and positive cytology were not. No lymph node metastases were found in mucinous histotypes. At multivariate analysis, only bilaterality (p = 0.018) and menopause (p = 0.032) maintained a statistically significant association with lymph node metastases. Lymphadenectomy-related complications (lymphocyst formation and lymphorrhea) were found in 14.4 % patients.
Conclusions: The data of this prospective study demonstrate the prognostic value of lymphadenectomy in eEOC. Menopause, age, bilaterality, histology, and tumor grade are identifiable factors that can help the surgeon decide whether to perform comprehensive surgical staging with lymph node dissection. These parameters may be used in planning subsequent treatment.