Abstract Radical trachelectomy (RT) is a fertility-sparing procedure with the aim to provide adequate oncological safety to patients with cervical cancer while preserving their fertility. In the current review, indications, development of the procedure, technical aspects, preoperative and postoperative management, and oncological, fertility, and obstetric outcomes are discussed and studied with respect to whether the procedure is performed abdominally or vaginally. Complications of RT, staging, and more conservative alternatives to RT are discussed as well. A systematic MEDLINE search was performed, which yielded 218 articles, of which 75 were selected for further analysis based on the number of patients and the quality of the study. Strict morphologic criteria should be applied to the candidates to maintain oncological safety. When limited to a tumor less than 2 cm in diameter, the overall recurrence rate after vaginal RT is 3% to 6% and the death rate is 2% to 5%. Data on fertility and obstetric outcome are mostly based on the results of patients who underwent vaginal RT. More data are needed to be able to draw the same conclusions for abdominal RT. Fertility seems not to be decreased, but the risk for premature delivery is 2 to 3 times higher compared to women with an intact cervix. In locally advanced cervical tumors with a diameter larger than 2 cm, neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by RT may be offered after explaining the experimental nature to the patient. In conclusion, RT is an oncologically safe technique in women with early invasive cancer. The rate of term pregnancies still needs improvement. Fertility-preserving treatment of women with tumors larger than 2 cm in diameter can be done by combining neoadjuvant chemotherapy and trachelectomy; however, experience is still limited.
- Radical trachelectomy
- Abdominal radical trachelectomy
- Vaginal radical trachelectomy
- Cervical cancer
- Fertility preservation
- Neoadjuvant chemotherapy
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Achim Schneider, Nicholas Reed, Philippe Morice, Alexandros Rodolakis, Dominik Denschlag, and Vesna Kesic are members of the Task Force Fertility Preservation in Gynecologic Cancer, European Society of Gynecologic Oncology.
The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.