Primary or adjuvant chemoradiotherapy for cervical cancer with intraoperative lymph node metastasis – A review

Hans H. B. Wenzel, Ester P. Olthof, Ruud L. M. Bekkers, Ingrid A. Boere, Valery E. P. P. Lemmens, Hans W. Nijman, Lukas J. A. Stalpers, Maaike A. van der Aa, Jacobus van der Velden, Constantijne H. Mom

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Upon discovery of lymph node metastasis during radical hysterectomy with pelvic lymphadenectomy in early-stage cervical cancer, the gynaecologist may pursue one of two treatment strategies: abandonment of surgery followed by primary (chemo)radiotherapy (PRT) or completion of radical hysterectomy, followed by adjuvant (chemo)radiotherapy (RHRT). Current guidelines recommend PRT over RHRT, as combined treatment is presumably associated with increased morbidity. However, this review of literature suggests there are no significant differences in survival and recurrence and total proportions of adverse events between treatment strategies. Additionally, both strategies are associated with varying types of adverse events, and affect quality of life and sexual functioning differently, both in the short and long term. Although total proportions of adverse events were comparable between treatment strategies, lower extremity lymphoedema was reported more often after RHRT and symptom experience (e.g. distress from bladder or bowel problems) and sexual dysfunction more often after PRT. As reporting of adverse events, quality of life and sexual functioning were not standardised across the articles included, and covariate adjustment was not conducted in most of the analyses, comparability of studies is hampered. Accumulating retrospective evidence suggests no major differences on oncological outcome and morbidity after PRT and RHRT for intraoperatively discovered lymph node metastasis in cervical cancer. However, conclusions should be considered cautiously, as all studies were of retrospective design with small sample sizes. Still, treatment strategies seem to affect adverse events, quality of life and sexual functioning in different ways, allowing room for shared decision-making and personalised treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102311
JournalCancer treatment reviews
Volume102
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Adverse events
  • Cervical cancer
  • Lymph node metastasis
  • Quality of life
  • Radiotherapy
  • Surgery

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