Article Text

Lymph node involvement in primary carcinoma of the fallopian tube
  1. G. Cormio*,
  2. A. Lissoni,
  3. A. Maneo,
  4. M. Marzola,
  5. A. Gabriele and
  6. C. Mangioni
  1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Milan, Istituto di Scienze Biomediche-Ospedale S. Gerardo-Monza, and *Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Bari, Italy.
  1. Address for correspondence: Dr G. Cormio, Piazza G. Garibaldi 60, 70054 Giovinazzo (Bari), Italy.


Although the bad prognosis of primary fallopian tube carcinoma has been mostly ascribed to early lymphogenous dissemination, precise information regarding the characteristics of retroperitoneal spread are still missing. Our study was designed to evaluate the incidence and clinical significance of lymph node metastases in 33 patients with primary carcinoma of the fallopian tube. During primary surgery nine patients (27%) were submitted to systematic pelvic and para-aortic lymphadenectomy, whereas 24 received lymph node sampling. The clinicopathologic characteristics of the patients(intraperitoneal spread, grading, peritoneal cytology, depth of tubal infiltration and residual disease after primary surgery) were compared with lymphnodal status.

Overall 15 patients (45%) had positive nodes, that is, invaded by tumor; whereas 18 (55%) showed no lymphatic spread. Six patients (40%) had exclusively positive para-aortic lymph nodes; five (33%) had only tumor metastases in pelvic lymph nodes, three (20%) manifested simultaneously pelvic and para-aortic spread, and one patient with pure primary squamous cell carcinoma had a massive groin node metastasis as presenting sign of the tumor. The rate of lymphogenous metastases was not significantly related to progressive intra-abdominal dissemination, histologic grade or depth of tubal infiltration. On the other hand, the presence of residual disease after primary surgery and positive peritoneal cytology significantly increased the risk of nodal metastases. Patients with lymph node metastasis had a significantly (P = 0.02) worse prognosis compared with patients without nodal involvement (median survival 39 vs 58 months).

Considering the high incidence of lymph node metastasis, correct staging of tubal carcinoma should include a thorough surgical evaluation of both pelvic and para-aortic lymph nodes. The role of systematic lymph node dissection in the treatment of tubal carcinoma remains controversial.

  • fallopian tube carcinoma
  • lymph node metastasis

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