Objective Simple or radical trachelectomy are accepted fertility sparing therapies for patients diagnosed with cervical cancer ≤2 cm. In patients with larger tumors a fertility sparing concept is considered experimental. The aim of our study is to present oncological and fertility outcomes of laparoscopic pelvic lymphadenectomy followed by neoadjuvant chemotherapy and subsequent radical vaginal trachelectomy. These procedures were performed in two centers in patients diagnosed with cervical cancer of diameter >2 cm.
Method We retrospectively analyzed the demographic, histological, fertility and follow-up data of all patients with cervical cancer assessed as stage IB2, IB3 or IIA1 under the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) 2018 system. These patients had undergone pelvic lymphadenectomy, followed by neoadjuvant chemotherapy and radical vaginal trachelectomy between February 2006 and June 2020 at Charité University Berlin and Asklepios Hospital, Hamburg.
Results A total of 31 patients (mean age 29.5 years, range; 26–40) underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by radical vaginal trachelectomy in case of proven tumor-free lymph nodes. Twenty-six (84%) of these patients were nulliparous. Across all 31 patients, the initial tumor stages were FIGO 2018 stage IB2 (n=27), IB3 (n=3) and IIA1 (n=1).
Lymphadenectomy was completed in all but one patient (sentinel) with a median of 33 (range; 11–47) pelvic lymph nodes. The neoadjuvant chemotherapy regimen was two cycles of paclitaxel, ifosfamide and cisplatin in 17 patients; three cycles of paclitaxel, ifosfamide and cisplatin in eight patients; two cycles of paclitaxel and cisplatin in four patients; two cylces cisplatin monoagent in one patient; and two cycles of paclitaxel and cisplatin followed by two cycles of paclitaxel, ifosfamide and cisplatin in one patient. Residual tumor was histologically confirmed in 17 specimens (55%). The median residual tumor size following neoadjuvant chemotherapy was 12 mm (range; 1–60). Fertility could be preserved in 27 patients (87%); two patients underwent adjuvant chemoradiation after radical vaginal trachelectomy due to high-risk histological features; two other patients underwent radical hysterectomy with adjuvant chemoradiation therapy following neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Of 18 (67%) patients seeking motherhood, 13 became pregnant (72%). There were 12 live births in 10 women, with a median fetal weight of 2490 grams (range; 1640–3560) and five miscarriages. After a median follow-up of 94.5 months (range; 6–183) three recurrences (11.1%) were detected, one patient (3.7%) died of the disease.
Conclusion Neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by radical vaginal trachelectomy may be offered to patients seeking motherhood with cervical cancer >2 cm and histopathologically tumor-free lymph nodes, the rate of healthy baby pregnancy on discharge was 10/18 women (55%). This fertility-preserving strategy is associated with higher recurrence and death compared with what was published in the literature for women undergoing radical vaginal trachelectomy for tumors up to 2 cm.
- Surgical Oncology
- Cervix Uteri
Data availability statement
All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.
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AP and KS are joint first authors.
Contributors All authors have substantially contributed to the development of the technique, the design and writing of the manuscript and data collection. AP accepts full responsibility for the work and/or the conduct of the study, had access to the data, and controlled the decision to publish as a guarantor.
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.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.