Does sentinel node mapping impact morbidity and quality of life in endometrial cancer?

Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2023 Oct 2;33(10):1548-1556. doi: 10.1136/ijgc-2023-004555.


Objectives: To evaluate the prevalence of post-operative complications and quality of life (QoL) related to sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy vs systematic lymphadenectomy in endometrial cancer.

Methods: A prospective cohort included women with early-stage endometrial carcinoma who underwent lymph node staging, grouped as follows: SLN group (sentinel lymph node only) and SLN+LND group (sentinel lymph node biopsy with addition of systematic lymphadenectomy). The patients had at least 12 months of follow-up, and QoL was assessed by European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cervical Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire 30 (EORTC-QLQ-C30) and EORTC-QLQ-Cx24. Lymphedema was also assessed by clinical evaluation and perimetry.

Results: 152 patients were included: 113 (74.3%) in the SLN group and 39 (25.7%) in the SLN+LND group. Intra-operative surgical complications occurred in 2 (1.3%) cases, and all belonged to SLN+LND group. Patients undergoing SLN+LND had higher overall complication rates than those undergoing SLN alone (33.3% vs 14.2%; p=0.011), even after adjusting for confound factors (OR=3.45, 95% CI 1.40 to 8.47; p=0.007). The SLN+LND group had longer surgical time (p=0.001) and need for admission to the intensive care unit (p=0.001). Moreover, the incidence of lymphocele was found in eight cases in the SLN+LND group (0 vs 20.5%; p<0.001). There were no differences in lymphedema rate after clinical evaluation and perimetry. However, the lymphedema score was highest when lymphedema was reported by clinical examination at 6 months (30.1 vs 7.8; p<0.001) and at 12 months (36.3 vs 6.0; p<0.001). Regarding the overall assessment of QoL, there was no difference between groups at 12 months of follow-up.

Conclusions: There was a higher overall rate of complications for the group undergoing systematic lymphadenectomy, as well as higher rates of lymphocele and lymphedema according to the symptom score. No difference was found in overall QoL between SLN and SLN+LND groups.

Keywords: Endometrial Neoplasms; Lymphatic System; Postoperative complications; Quality of Life (PRO)/Palliative Care; Sentinel Lymph Node.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Endometrial Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymph Node Excision / adverse effects
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymph Nodes / surgery
  • Lymphedema* / epidemiology
  • Lymphedema* / etiology
  • Lymphedema* / pathology
  • Lymphocele*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy / adverse effects