The role of surgical debulking in cancer of the uterine cervix

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1989 Nov;17(5):979-84. doi: 10.1016/0360-3016(89)90145-4.


From 1978 to 1985, 159 women with advanced cervical cancer received definitive radiation therapy following extraperitoneal surgical staging including pelvic lymph node dissection and periaortic lymph node sampling. Relapse-free survival was a strong function of peritoneal and nodal metastases but was independent of clinical stage. The 5-year relapse-free rate fell from 86% in women without pelvic node metastases to 0% in those with unresectable pelvic node metastases. Women with microscopically positive pelvic node metastases had virtually the same (56%) relapse-free rate as those with grossly positive but completely resected metastases (57%). The overall pelvic failure rate was 16.4% and was significantly higher in women with unresectable pelvic node metastases. Periaortic and peritoneal metastases substantially increased the probability of recurrence. Although histologic grade was prognostically significant, histopathologic category was not. Severe enteric morbidity occurred in 3.6% of patients treated solely to the pelvis and in 7.9% of patients treated to the pelvis and periaortics. Therapeutic implications of debulking pelvic node metastases are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Pelvic Neoplasms / secondary
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / surgery*