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Oncologic and pregnancy outcomes after fertility-sparing surgery for stage I, low-grade endometrioid ovarian cancer


Objective To evaluate oncologic outcomes in patients with stage I endometrioid ovarian cancer treated with fertility-sparing compared with conventional surgery and to describe reproductive outcomes.

Methods A retrospective cohort study was carried out of patients aged 18–45 with stage I, grade 1 and 2 (low-grade) endometrioid ovarian cancer treated at two cancer centers between July 2001 and December 2019. Clinical and pathologic characteristics were compared using Fisher’s exact test for categorical and the Mann–Whitney U test for continuous variables. Recurrence-free and overall survival were calculated from Kaplan–Meier curves and compared for fertility-sparing and conventional surgery using the log rank test. Pregnancy outcomes are described.

Results There were 230 patients with endometrioid ovarian cancer. After exclusion of patients with stage greater than I and those older than 45 years, there were 31 patients with stage I cancer aged 18–45. Of these patients, 11 (35.5%) underwent fertility-sparing surgery and 20 (64.5%) underwent conventional surgery. The median follow-up was 6.0 years (range 1.8–17.3). The median age was 36 years (range 26–42) in the fertility-sparing group and 42 years (range 35–45) in the conventional surgery group (p=0.001), with no difference in other clinical and pathologic characteristics. The 5-year recurrence-free survival was 90.9% (95% CI 73.9% to 100%) for the fertility-sparing group and 84.0% (95% CI 67.3% to 100%) for the conventional surgery group (p=0.65). The 5-year overall survival was 100% for patients in the fertility-sparing group and 92.6% (95% CI 78.7% to 100%) for patients treated with conventional surgery (p=0.49). Four (12.9%) patients had disease recurrence: three (15%) after conventional surgery and one (9.1%) in the contralateral ovary after fertility-sparing surgery and embryo cryopreservation. After fertility-sparing surgery, seven (63.6%) patients attempted pregnancy, of which five (71.4%) conceived with four (57.1%) using in vitro fertilization. Of the five patients who conceived, there were three spontaneous abortions and five live births.

Conclusion Fertility-sparing surgery appears safe and may be considered in young women with stage I, low-grade endometrioid ovarian cancer when fertility preservation is desired.

  • gynecologic surgical procedures
  • ovarian cancer

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. We will provide our data for the reproducibility of this study in other centers if such is requested.

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