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Does iatrogenic tumor rupture during surgery have prognostic implications for the outcome of uterine sarcomas?
  1. Virginia Benito1,
  2. Amina Lubrano1,
  3. Laureano León2,
  4. Fernando Molano3 and
  5. Beatriz Pinar4
  1. 1 Gynecology and Obstetrics, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario Insular-Materno Infantil, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canarias, Spain
  2. 2 Pathology, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario Insular-Materno Infantil, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canarias, Spain
  3. 3 Medical Oncology, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario Insular-Materno Infantil, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canarias, Spain
  4. 4 Radiation Oncology, Hospital Universitario de Gran Canaria Dr Negrin, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Dr Virginia Benito, Gynecology and Obstetrics, Complejo Hospitalario Materno-Insular, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canarias, Spain; virginia.benito{at}


Objective Tumor rupture during surgery is a risk factor for recurrence of sarcomas in other locations. However, the independent impact of rupture on prognosis is uncertain in uterine sarcomas. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether uterine rupture impacts outcomes in patients with uterine sarcoma.

Methods A retrospective analysis was carried out of all consecutive patients with uterine sarcoma managed at the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics of the Complejo Hospitalario Universitario Insular-Materno Infantil of the Canary Islands, Spain between January 1990 and December 2016. Inclusion criteria included all patients with histologically proven uterine sarcoma. Exclusion criteria included patients with endometrial carcinoma (non-sarcomatous) and carcinosarcomas. During this period, 1981 patients were diagnosed with a uterine malignancy; 1799 were excluded because of a diagnosis of endometrial carcinoma and 85 patients were excluded for a diagnosis of carcinosarcoma. Thus, the final sample included 97 patients with uterine sarcoma (4.9%). These included leiomyosarcoma, endometrial stromal sarcoma, adenosarcoma, and liposarcoma. Surgical resection was the primary treatment, including open, laparoscopic and vaginal surgery. Survival rates were analyzed using the Kaplan–Meier method.

Results The median age was 52 years (range 25–90); 49.5% (48) were pre-menopausal. Distribution per histological type was: 46.4% (45) leiomyosarcoma, 23.7% (23) high-grade endometrial stromal sarcoma, 17.5% (17) low-grade endometrial stromal sarcoma, 11.3% (11) adenosarcoma, and 1% (1) liposarcoma. Uterine leiomyoma was the most frequent pre-operatively suspected diagnosis (49.5%). Iatrogenic rupture of the tumor during surgery occurred in 25.3% of cases (23). International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stages I–II and III–IV were identified in 74.2% (72) and 25.8% (25) of patients, respectively. The median tumor size was 8 cm (range 2–40). The recurrence rate was 47.8% (11) for patients with intra-operative tumor rupture and 25% (17) for patients without uterine rupture (p=0.03). Disease-free survival rates at 1, 2, and 5 years for patients with uterine rupture were 72.7%, 55.4%, and 13.9%, respectively, with a median time of 39 months (95% CI 2.9 to 75). For those patients without uterine rupture, disease-free survival rates at 1, 2, and 5 years were 84.8%, 76.1%, and 71.3%, respectively, with a mean time of 208.6 months (95% CI 169 to 248.3) (p=0.01). Multivariate analysis showed that stage, histological type, and iatrogenic tumor rupture during surgery were all independent prognostic factors for overall survival (OR 7.9, 95% CI 1.6 to 38.2, p=0.01); OR 5.3, 95% CI 2.1 to 13, p<0.0001; and OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.1 to 6.5, respectively, p=0.03).

Conclusion Considering that uterine sarcomas, especially leiomyosarcomas, often occur in pre-menopausal women as bulky tumors requiring laparotomy and that they are rarely diagnosed pre-operatively, efforts should be made to avoid iatrogenic uterine rupture during surgery as it impairs patient survival.

  • sarcoma
  • surgical procedures
  • operative

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  • Contributors Study concept: VB, AL. Study design: VB, AL. Data acquisition: LL, FM, BP. Quality control of data: LL, FM, BP. Data analysis and interpretation: LL, FM, BP. Manuscript preparation: VB, AL. Manuscript editing: VB, AL. Manuscript review: VB, AL, LL, FM, BP.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request. De-identified participant data are available from Dr Benito, on reasonable request.