Effect of surgical approach on risk of recurrence after vaginal brachytherapy in early-stage high-intermediate risk endometrial cancer

Gynecol Oncol. 2021 Feb;160(2):389-395. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2020.12.003. Epub 2020 Dec 23.


Objective: The objective was to determine if surgical approach affects time to recurrence in early-stage high-intermediate risk endometrial cancer (HIR-EC) treated with adjuvant vaginal brachytherapy (VBT).

Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, HIR-EC patients treated with VBT between 2005 and 2017 were identified and those who received open or minimally invasive hysterectomies (MIS) were included. Clinical and surgical variables were analyzed and time to recurrence was compared between surgical groups.

Results: We identified 494 patients, of which 363 had MIS hysterectomies, 92.5% had endometrioid histology, 45.7% were stage IA and 48.0% stage IB. Open hysterectomy patients had higher BMIs (p = 0.007), lower rates of lymph node sampling (p < 0.001) and lymphovascular space invasion (LVSI) (p = 0.036), however in patients who recurred, no differences were noted between groups. Overall, 65 patients (13.2%) recurred, 14 in the open group (10.7%) and 51 in the MIS group (14.0%) (p = 0.58), while vaginal recurrences were noted in 4.6% and 6.1% respectively. When compared to the open group, the MIS group had a significantly shorter time to any recurrence (p = 0.022), to pelvic (p = 0.05) and locoregional recurrence (p = 0.021) and to death from any cause (p = 0.039). After adjusting for age, BMI, grade, LVSI and surgery date, the MIS group had a higher risk of any recurrence (HR 2.29 (1.07-4.92), p = 0.034) and locoregional recurrence (HR 4.18 (1.44-12.1), p = 0.008).

Conclusions: Patients with HIR-EC treated with VBT after MIS hysterectomy have a shorter time to recurrence and higher risk of recurrence when compared to open hysterectomy patients. Further studies into the safety of MIS in high-intermediate risk patients are required.

Keywords: Adjuvant therapy; Endometrial cancer; Recurrence; Vaginal brachytherapy.