Minimally Invasive versus Abdominal Radical Hysterectomy for Cervical Cancer

N Engl J Med. 2018 Nov 15;379(20):1895-1904. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1806395. Epub 2018 Oct 31.


Background: There are limited data from retrospective studies regarding whether survival outcomes after laparoscopic or robot-assisted radical hysterectomy (minimally invasive surgery) are equivalent to those after open abdominal radical hysterectomy (open surgery) among women with early-stage cervical cancer.

Methods: In this trial involving patients with stage IA1 (lymphovascular invasion), IA2, or IB1 cervical cancer and a histologic subtype of squamous-cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, or adenosquamous carcinoma, we randomly assigned patients to undergo minimally invasive surgery or open surgery. The primary outcome was the rate of disease-free survival at 4.5 years, with noninferiority claimed if the lower boundary of the two-sided 95% confidence interval of the between-group difference (minimally invasive surgery minus open surgery) was greater than -7.2 percentage points (i.e., closer to zero).

Results: A total of 319 patients were assigned to minimally invasive surgery and 312 to open surgery. Of the patients who were assigned to and underwent minimally invasive surgery, 84.4% underwent laparoscopy and 15.6% robot-assisted surgery. Overall, the mean age of the patients was 46.0 years. Most patients (91.9%) had stage IB1 disease. The two groups were similar with respect to histologic subtypes, the rate of lymphovascular invasion, rates of parametrial and lymph-node involvement, tumor size, tumor grade, and the rate of use of adjuvant therapy. The rate of disease-free survival at 4.5 years was 86.0% with minimally invasive surgery and 96.5% with open surgery, a difference of -10.6 percentage points (95% confidence interval [CI], -16.4 to -4.7). Minimally invasive surgery was associated with a lower rate of disease-free survival than open surgery (3-year rate, 91.2% vs. 97.1%; hazard ratio for disease recurrence or death from cervical cancer, 3.74; 95% CI, 1.63 to 8.58), a difference that remained after adjustment for age, body-mass index, stage of disease, lymphovascular invasion, and lymph-node involvement; minimally invasive surgery was also associated with a lower rate of overall survival (3-year rate, 93.8% vs. 99.0%; hazard ratio for death from any cause, 6.00; 95% CI, 1.77 to 20.30).

Conclusions: In this trial, minimally invasive radical hysterectomy was associated with lower rates of disease-free survival and overall survival than open abdominal radical hysterectomy among women with early-stage cervical cancer. (Funded by the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Medtronic; LACC number, NCT00614211 .).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Comparative Study
  • Equivalence Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Adenosquamous / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Adenosquamous / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / mortality
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / surgery*

Associated data