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Para-aortic lymph node surgical staging in locally-advanced cervical cancer: comparison between robotic versus conventional laparoscopy
  1. Liselore Loverix1,
  2. Rawand Rokan Salihi1,
  3. Els Van Nieuwenhuysen1,
  4. Nicole Concin2,
  5. Sileny Han1,
  6. Toon van Gorp1 and
  7. Ignace Vergote1
  1. 1Gynecological Oncology, KU Leuven University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Flanders, Belgium
  2. 2Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics; Innsbruck Medical Univeristy, Innsbruck, Austria
  1. Correspondence to Professor Ignace Vergote, Gynecological Oncology, KU Leuven University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Flanders, Belgium; ignace.vergote{at}


Objective With the expansion of the use of minimally invasive surgical techniques within the field of gynecological oncology, a robot assisted procedure seems to be an attractive technique for para-aortic lymph node sampling. The aim of this study was to compare robotic versus conventional laparoscopic para-aortic lymphadenectomy in patients with locally advanced cervical cancer.

Methods In this monocentric retrospective study, we included patients with locally-advanced cervical cancer (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) 2009 stage IB2-IVA or IB1 with suspicious pelvic lymph nodes), who underwent a para-aortic lymphadenectomy up to the inferior mesenteric artery between December 1994 and December 2016 (robotic technique starting from December 2012).

Results A total of 217 patients were included in the study (robotic, n=55 vs laparoscopic, n=162). When comparing conventional laparoscopic versus robotic para-aortic lymphadenectomy, the median age was 48 versus 49 years and the median body mass index was 24.4 vs 24.7 kg/m2, respectively. In the robotic or laparoscopic group, 85% and 83% were squamous carcinomas, respectively. Patients who underwent a robotic procedure had a higher American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score (ASA2: 62% vs 56%, ASA3: 20% vs 2%, p<0.001), more prior major abdominal surgery (18% vs 6%, p=0.016), less estimated blood loss (median, 25 mL vs 62.5 mL, p<0.001), more para-aortic lymph nodes removed (11 vs 6, p<0.001), shorter postoperative stay (1.8 vs 2.3 days, p=0.002), and a higher, but non-significant, rate of metastatic para-aortic lymph nodes (13% vs 5%, p=0.065) compared with the laparoscopic procedure, respectively. There was no difference in complication rates between the two approaches. The most frequent complications were grade I and grade II according to the Clavien Dindo classification. No difference was observed in progression-free survival between robotic and laparoscopic para-aortic lymphadenectomy after 2 years (both groups 66%) (p=0.472). Also, 2 year overall survival was similar between the groups (77% vs 81% for robotic vs conventional laparoscopy group, respectively) (p=0.749).

Conclusion Robotic para-aortic lymphadenectomy in patients with locally-advanced cervical cancer resulted in better perioperative outcomes and similar survival outcomes when compared with a conventional laparoscopic approach.

  • Para-aortic lymphadenectomy – Cervical cancer – Surgical staging – Robot assisted surgery – Laparoscopy

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  • Contributors Writing and final approval by all authors. Development of study and analysis by Loverix L and Vergote I.

  • 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.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. Data are available upon reasonable request.