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Survival of Danish Patients With Endometrial Cancer in the Intermediate-Risk Group Not Given Postoperative Radiotherapy: The Danish Endometrial Cancer Study (DEMCA)
  1. Kamma Bertelsen, DMSc*,
  2. Gitte Ørtoft, DMSc, MD and
  3. Estrid Stæhr Hansen, MD
  1. *Department of Oncology, University Hospital of Odense, Odense, Denmark;
  2. Departments of Gynecology and Obstetrics, and
  3. Histopathology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Gitte Ørtoft, DMSc, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Aarhus University Hospital, DK-8200 Aarhus N, Denmark. E-mail: Ortoft{at}


Objectives: In a prospective study during the years 1986 to 1988, the Danish Endometrial Cancer Group (DEMCA) demonstrated that postoperative radiotherapy was unnecessary for low-risk patients with stage I disease. In the present study, we evaluated in a population-based study if radiotherapy could also be omitted for intermediate-risk patients with stage I disease without loss of survival.

Study Design: From 1998 to 1999, 1166 patients newly diagnosed with carcinoma of the uterus were included in this prospective nationwide study. Of these, 232 were intermediate-risk patients with stage I disease. All intermediate-risk patients received standard primary surgery (hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, and peritoneal washings), and no postoperative radiotherapy was given. Survival analyses were performed using Kaplan-Meier survival estimates. The results were compared to the 1986-1988 DEMCA data.

Results: The 5-year overall survival (OS) rate for the entire population was 77% (stages I-IV). The patients with stage I disease were divided into low-, intermediate-, and high-risk; the OS rates were 91%, 78%, and 62%, and the endometrial cancer-specific survival rates were 97%, 87%, and 72%, respectively. Using patients' age, tumor grade, myometrial invasion, we divided the intermediate-risk group into "high risk" intermediate and "low-risk" intermediate with OS rates of 70% and 90% and cancer-specific survival of 81% and 96%, respectively. The OS rate (78%) of the intermediate-risk group after radiation had been omitted was comparable to the OS rate (79%) of the intermediate-risk group in the earlier DEMCA (1986-1988) study where postoperative radiation was still the standard of care.

Conclusion: We conclude that in a population-based study, radiotherapy can be omitted for intermediate-risk patients with stage I endometrial cancer without loss of survival.

  • Endometrial cancer
  • Intermediate-risk group overall survival
  • Radiotherapy

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  • This study was presented on the 16th international meeting of the European Society of Gynecological Oncology (ESGO) 2009, Belgrade, Serbia.

  • The study was financially supported by The Danish Cancer Society and The Danish Gynecological Cancer Group (DGCG).

  • All authors declare no conflict of interest.