This study endeavored to determine whether lymph node size is a reliable indicator in determining lymph node metastasis in common epithelial ovarian cancer. We reviewed pathologic sections of pelvic and para-aortic lymph nodes removed from 104 ovarian carcinoma patients who underwent either primary surgical staging or secondary surgery from January 1994 to July 2001. All sections of each individual node were measured in two dimensions. The different sizes of nodes were studied statistically to determine the optimal sensitivity and specificity in predicting cancer metastasis. A nodal size of 10 mm was a specific point of interest. Of 2069 total nodes obtained, 110 nodes (5.3%) had metastatic cancer. More than half (55.4%) of these positive nodes had a nodal long axis of 10 mm and less. The sensitivity and specificity of nodal size at 10 mm were 44.5% and 81.1%, respectively. We conclude that lymph node size is not a good indicator in determining epithelial ovarian cancer metastasis. Mere sampling of only the enlarged nodes does not reflect the true positive incidence of nodal metastasis. To avoid inaccurate staging and improper management, complete lymph node dissection is proposed as part of surgical staging for ovarian cancer.
- lymph node metastasis
- lymph node size
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