The impact of adjuvant radiotherapy on carcinosarcoma of the uterus

Gynecol Oncol. 1998 Jan;68(1):8-13. doi: 10.1006/gyno.1997.4901.


Background: The role of adjuvant radiotherapy in the setting of uterine carcinosarcoma has not been clearly established.

Methods: A retrospective review of 60 patients receiving definitive therapy for carcinosarcoma of the uterus was undertaken at a single institution. Twenty-nine of 60 patients were treated with adjuvant radiotherapy.

Results: The addition of radiotherapy significantly reduced the local recurrence rate from 55% (17 patients) to 3% (1 patient). Adjuvant radiotherapy reduced the risk of distant failure and death in patients with disease confined to the uterus but did not impact distant recurrence or survival in stage III patients. Increasing stage and depth of myometrial tumor invasion were negatively associated with overall survival and disease-free survival but had no impact on local recurrence rates. The nuclear grade of the epithelial component was predictive of local recurrence (P = 0.0592), but epithelial architectural grade, grade of stromal component, and stromal versus epithelial predominance did not provide prognostic information. The relative risk of local recurrence of unirradiated patients versus irradiated patients was 17.54 (P = 0.0055) after adjusting for nuclear grade of the epithelial component.

Conclusions: Local failure represents a significant site of failure in the absence of adjuvant radiotherapy. The improvement in local failure rates with the addition of radiotherapy translates into an improvement in distant failure rates and survival only for patients with stage I/II disease. Epithelial nuclear grade, in addition to depth of myometrial invasion and stage, provides important prognostic information. Epithelial architectural grade, stromal grade, type of stromal component (homologous versus heterologous), and predominance of either stromal or epithelial component were not found to be significant prognostic factors.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinosarcoma / pathology
  • Carcinosarcoma / radiotherapy*
  • Carcinosarcoma / surgery
  • Epithelium / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy / standards*
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant / standards
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Uterine Neoplasms / pathology
  • Uterine Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / surgery