Role of pelvic and para-aortic lymphadenectomy in endometrial cancer: current evidence

J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2014 Feb;40(2):301-11. doi: 10.1111/jog.12344.


The aim of the present review is to summarize the current evidence on the role of pelvic and para-aortic lymphadenectomy in endometrial cancer. In 1988, the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommended surgical staging for endometrial cancer patients. However, 25 years later, the role of lymph node dissection remains controversial. Although the findings of two large independent randomized trials suggested that pelvic lymphadenectomy provides only adjunctive morbidity with no clear influence on survival outcomes, the studies have many pitfalls that limit interpretation of the results. Theoretically, lymphadenectomy may help identify patients with metastatic dissemination, who may benefit from adjuvant therapy, thus reducing radiation-related morbidity. Also, lymphadenectomy may eradicate metastatic disease. Because lymphatic spread is relatively uncommon, our main effort should be directed at identifying patients who may potentially benefit from lymph node dissection, thus reducing the rate of unnecessary treatment and associated morbidity. This review will discuss the role of lymphadenectomy in endometrial cancer, focusing on patient selection, extension of the surgical procedure, postoperative outcomes, quality of life and costs. The need for new surgical studies and efficacious systemic drugs is recommended.

Keywords: aortic lymphadenectomy; endometrial cancer; pelvic lymphadenectomy; staging; survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aorta
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / mortality
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymph Node Excision* / economics
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Patient Selection*
  • Pelvis
  • Quality of Life
  • Survival Rate