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Endometrial Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Stage I Endometrial Cancer

Standard treatment options:

A total hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy should be done if the tumor:

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  • Is well or moderately differentiated.
  • Involves the upper 66% of the corpus.
  • Has negative peritoneal cytology.
  • Is without vascular space invasion.
  • Has less than a 50% myometrial invasion.

Selected pelvic lymph nodes may be removed. If they are negative, no postoperative treatment is indicated. Postoperative treatment with a vaginal cylinder is advocated by some clinicians.[1]

For all other cases and cell types, a pelvic and selective periaortic node sampling should be combined with the total hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, if there are no medical or technical contraindications. One study found that node dissection per se did not significantly add to the overall morbidity from hysterectomy.[2] While the radiation therapy will reduce the incidence of local and regional recurrence, improved survival has not been proven and toxic effects are worse.[3,4,5,6] Results of two randomized trials on the use of adjuvant radiation therapy in patients with stage I disease did not show improved survival but did show reduced locoregional recurrence (3%–4% vs. 12%–14% after 5–6 years' median follow-up, P <.001) with an increase in side effects.[6,7,8][Level of evidence: 1iiDii] Results of a study by the Danish Endometrial Cancer Group also suggest that the absence of radiation does not improve the survival of patients with stage I, intermediate-risk disease (grade 1 and 2 with >50% myometrial invasion or grade 3 with <50% myometrial invasion).[9]

The PORTEC-2 trial randomly assigned patients with stage I endometrial cancer who did not undergo lymph node dissection to undergo vaginal brachytherapy (VBT) or external-beam radiation therapy (EBRT), with prevention of vaginal recurrence as the primary outcome.[10] At 5 years, there was no difference in the rates of vaginal recurrence, locoregional recurrence, progression-free survival or overall survival (OS) (84.8% [95% confidence interval—CI—, 79.3–90.3] vs. 79.6% [95% CI, 71.2–88.0] for VBT and EBRT, respectively; P = .57). There were significantly fewer gastrointestinal toxic effects in the VBT group, making VBT the preferred option for adjuvant treatment of patients with stage I disease.[10][Level of evidence: 1iA]

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