The size of the metastatic lymph node is an independent prognostic factor for the patients with cervical cancer treated by definitive radiotherapy

Radiother Oncol. 2013 Jul;108(1):168-73. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2013.04.015. Epub 2013 May 14.


Background and purpose: Lymph node (LN) metastasis is a well-known prognostic factor of the cervical cancer. In the current study, the size of metastatic LN was evaluated for its significance in the patients treated with definitive radiotherapy.

Materials and methods: LN metastasis was evaluated for the 268 consecutive patients. The short-axis diameters of the largest LN were measured on magnetic resonance images for the 155 patients with LN metastasis. All the patients were classified into three groups: the negative lymphadenopathy (group N), the small (<15mm) lymphadenopathy (group SP), and the large (≥15mm) lymphadenopathy (group LP).

Results: Patients in the group LP showed significantly lower survival rates than the groups N and SP (5-year overall survival rates of 89%, 82%, and 58%, for groups N, SP, and LP, respectively, P<0.001; 5-year disease-free survival rates of 80%, 67%, and 50%, respectively, P<0.001). Regarding the pattern of failure, patients in the group LP showed inferior regional control rates and higher distant metastasis.

Conclusion: The current study shows that the patients with large metastatic LNs are at increased risk of dying from early distant metastasis with substantial number of combined regional failures. Adoption of more effective systemic treatment as well as high radiotherapy dose for LNs may improve cure rates for these patients.

Keywords: Cervical cancer; Lymph node size; Radiotherapy; Survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / mortality
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / radiotherapy*