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Risk factors for lymphedema and method of assessment in endometrial cancer: a prospective longitudinal multicenter study

Abstract

Objective The aim of the study was to determine risk factors for lymphedema of the lower limbs, assessed by four methods, 1 year after surgery for endometrial cancer.

Methods A prospective longitudinal multicenter study was conducted in 14 Swedish hospitals. 235 women with endometrial cancer were included; 116 underwent surgery including lymphadenectomy, and 119 had surgery without lymphadenectomy. Lymphedema was assessed preoperatively and 1 year postoperatively objectively by systematic circumferential measurements of the legs, enabling volume estimation addressed as (1) crude volume and (2) body mass index-standardized volume, or (3) clinical grading, and (4) subjectively by patient-reported perception of leg swelling. In volume estimation, lymphedema was defined as a volume increase ≥10%. Risk factors were analyzed using forward stepwise logistic regression models and presented as adjusted odds ratio (aOR) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI).

Results Risk factors varied substantially, depending on the method of determining lymphedema. Lymphadenectomy was a risk factor for lymphedema when assessed by body mass index-standardized volume (aOR 14.42, 95% CI 3.49 to 59.62), clinical grading (aOR 2.11, 95% CI 1.04 to 4.29), and patient-perceived swelling (aOR 2.51, 95% CI 1.33 to 4.73), but not when evaluated by crude volume. Adjuvant radiotherapy was only a risk factor for lymphedema when assessed by body mass index-standardized volume (aOR 15.02, 95% CI 2.34 to 96.57). Aging was a risk factor for lymphedema when assessed by body mass index-standardized volume (aOR 1.07, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.15) and patient-perceived swelling (aOR 1.06, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.10), but not when assessed by crude volume or clinical grading. Increase in body mass index was a risk factor for lymphedema when estimated by crude volume (aOR 1.92, 95% CI 1.36 to 2.71) and patient-perceived swelling (aOR 1.36, 95% CI 1.11 to 1.66), but not by body mass index-standardized volume or clinical grading. The extent of lymphadenectomy was strongly predictive for the development of lymphedema when assessed by body mass index-standardized volume and patient-perceived swelling, but not by crude volume or clinical grading.

Conclusion Apparent risk factors for lymphedema differed considerably depending on the method used to determine lymphedema. This highlights the need for a ‘gold standard’ method when addressing lymphedema for determining risk factors.

  • surgery
  • endometrial neoplasms
  • sln and lympadenectomy

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Data are available upon reasonable request and in accordance with Swedish legislation. In accordance with the journal’s guidelines, we will provide our data in de-identified form for the reproducibility of this study in other centers if such is requested.

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