An evaluation of routine follow-up of patients treated for endometrial carcinoma

Gynecol Oncol. 1994 Nov;55(2):229-33. doi: 10.1006/gyno.1994.1282.


This retrospective review evaluates the outcome benefit of a standard follow-up protocol for 435 patients treated for endometrial carcinoma between 1981 and 1986. Routine follow-ups consisting of physical examinations and vaginal cytologies were done every 3 months for the first year, 4 months for the second year, and 6 months thereafter. Chest X rays were done biannually. Demographic, histopathologic, therapeutic, and follow-up data were studied. Exclusions due to incomplete follow-up (70), persistent disease (40), or other primary malignancies (8) left 317 patients with a disease-free state assigned to follow-up. Recurrences developed in 53 patients being followed, 40 (75%) of whom were symptomatic. Family physicians primarily diagnosed recurrences in 34 patients while recurrences in only 11 of the 53 patients (21%) were detected on routine follow-up at the cancer center (5 by examination and 6 by chest X ray). Therefore, only one recurrence was detected for every 206 routine follow-up visits. Vaginal vault cytology was not diagnostic in any patient. Seventy percent of recurrences occurred within 3 years. There was no statistical difference in survival between the group detected on routine follow-up and those who were symptomatic (P = 0.55). Routine follow-up of patients treated for endometrial cancer did not improve detection of recurrences or survival.

MeSH terms

  • Endometrial Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / mortality
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis