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Burden of lymphatic disease predicts efficacy of adjuvant radiation and chemotherapy in FIGO 2018 stage IIICp cervical cancer


Objective Nodal involvement is one of the most important prognostic factors in cervical cancer patients. We aimed to assess the prognostic role in relation to the burden of nodal disease in stage IIICp cervical cancer.

Methods Data on all consecutive patients diagnosed with cervical cancer undergoing primary surgery (radical hysterectomy plus lymphadenectomy) or neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by radical hysterectomy plus lymphadenectomy, between January 1980 and December 2017, were collected in a dedicated database. Exclusion criteria were: (1) consent withdrawal; (2) synchronous malignancies (within 5 years). Survival outcomes were assessed using Kaplan-Meier and Cox models.

Results Overall, 177 (14.1%) of 1257 patients with cervical cancer were diagnosed with positive lymph nodes. After a median follow-up of 58 (range 4–175) months, 66 (37.3%) and 37 (20.9%) patients developed recurrent disease and died of disease, respectively. Via multivariate analysis, positive para-aortic nodes (HR 2.62, 95% CI 1.12 to 6.11; p=0.025) and the number of positive nodes (HR 1.06, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.11; p=0.002) correlated with worse disease-free survival. Furthermore, the number of positive nodes (HR 1.06, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.12; p=0.021) correlated with worse overall survival. Number of positive nodes (1, 2 or ≥3) strongly correlated with both disease-free survival (p<0.001, log-rank test) and overall survival (p=0.001, log-rank test). Focusing on patients receiving adjuvant radiation and chemotherapy, the number of positive lymph nodes was associated with response to treatment (p<0.001). Median disease-free survival was 100, 42, and 12 months for patients with one, two, or three or more positive lymph node(s), respectively (p<0.001, log-rank test).

Conclusions In stage IIICp cervical cancer, adjuvant radiation and chemotherapy provides adequate overall survival in patients diagnosed with only one metastatic node, while survival outcomes are poor in patients with two or more metastatic nodes. This highlights the need for innovative treatments in patients with a high burden of lymphatic disease.

  • cervical cancer
  • node positive
  • stage IIIC
  • radiation and chemotherapy

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