The impact of tumor fragmentation in patients with stage I uterine leiomyosarcoma on patterns of recurrence and oncologic outcome

Gynecol Oncol. 2021 Jan;160(1):99-105. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2020.10.020. Epub 2020 Nov 4.


Objective: To evaluate the impact of tumor fragmentation on oncologic outcomes in patients with stage I uterine leiomyosarcoma (uLMS).

Methods: We identified all patients diagnosed with stage I uLMS presenting to our institution within three months of primary surgery, 1/2000-1/2019. Patients with recurrent disease were excluded. The non-morcellated group had total hysterectomy without documented specimen fragmentation; the morcellated group, total hysterectomy with documented specimen fragmentation. We defined fragmentation as manual fragmentation or morcellation (via power morcellator or otherwise) of the specimen in peritoneal cavity or vagina. Appropriate statistical analyses were performed.

Results: 152 patients met inclusion criteria. 107 (70%) underwent total hysterectomy (non-morcellated); 45 (30%) underwent morcellation. Median age at diagnosis for the entire cohort was 55 years (range 30-91). Median follow-up was 42.1 months (range 1.1-197.8). 40 (26.3%) patients had primary surgery at our institution, 112 (73.7%) at an outside hospital. In total 110 (72.3%) recurred: 72/107 (67.2%) non-morcellated; 38/44 (86.3%) morcellated. Median progression-free survival (PFS) for non-morcellated versus morcellated was 13.8 (95%CI 9.2-20.2) versus 7.3 months (95%CI 3-13.1), HR 1.5 (95%CI 1.02-2.24); P = 0.04. Median overall survival (OS) for non-morcellated versus morcellated was 82.1 (95%CI 52.4-122) versus 47.8 months (95%CI 28.5-129.6), HR 1.1 (95%CI 0.67-1.82); P = 0.7. Among patients with recurrence, 69.4% of non-morcellated recurred at hematogenous sites only, 18.1% recurred in peritoneum only; 28.9% of morcellated recurred at hematogenous sites, 63.2% in peritoneum. Race, lymphovascular invasion, postoperative chemotherapy, were independently associated with PFS. Mitotic index was independently associated with OS.

Conclusions: Tumor fragmentation/morcellation was associated with significantly higher risk of recurrence and a nearly 4-fold increase in peritoneal recurrence. Prognostic biomarkers remain important in predicting oncologic outcomes, independent of fragmentation or treatment.

Keywords: Hysterectomy; Morcellation; Recurrence; Uterine leiomyosarcoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy
  • Leiomyosarcoma / pathology*
  • Leiomyosarcoma / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Morcellation
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Seeding
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Progression-Free Survival
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Uterine Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / surgery*