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A comparison of disease recurrence between robotic versus laparotomy approach in patients with intermediate-risk endometrial cancer


Objective Advances in minimally invasive surgery, particularly with robotic surgery, have resulted in improved peri-operative outcomes in patients with endometrial cancer. In addition, randomized trials have shown that addition of adjuvant radiotherapy following surgery improves loco-regional disease control among stage I intermediate-risk endometrial cancer patients. We aimed to investigate the efficacy and safety of combined treatment of robotic surgery and adjuvant radiotherapy in this patient population.

Methods A single-center retrospective study was conducted on stage I endometrioid-type endometrial cancer patients with intermediate-risk features (<50% myometrial involvement and grade 2–3 histopathology, or >50% myometrial involvement and grade 1–2 histopathology) treated with hysterectomy and adjuvant radiotherapy between January 2010 and December 2015. Data on surgery and radiotherapy were collected and correlated with clinical and surgical outcomes using log-rank. Oncologic outcomes were then compared between robotic surgery and laparotomy.

Results A total of 179 intermediate-risk endometrial cancer patients were identified, of whom 135 (75.4%) received adjuvant radiotherapy and were included in the final analysis. Median age at diagnosis was 63 years (range 40–89) and median follow-up was 4.7 years (range 1.1–8.8). Seventy-seven patients (57%) underwent robotic surgery and 58 patients (43%) underwent laparotomy. Surgical staging with lymph node dissection was performed on 79.3% of the patients. The majority of patients (79.3%) received vaginal brachytherapy as part of adjuvant radiotherapy, while 20.7% received external-beam radiotherapy. Among the entire cohort, eight (5.9%) patients recurred and all eight recurrences occurred in the robotic surgery group; no recurrence was found in the laparotomy group. This translated into 5 year disease-free survival of 100% in the laparotomy group, compared with 91.8% in the robotic surgery group (p=0.005). No difference in overall survival was found between the two groups (p=0.51).

Conclusion Oncologic outcomes for stage I intermediate-risk endometrial cancer treated with hysterectomy and adjuvant radiotherapy at our institution are comparable to the previously published literature. The higher recurrence rate observed with robotic surgery at our institution has not been observed previously and requires further investigation.

  • endometrial cancer
  • radiotherapy
  • robotic surgery
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