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Fertility-sparing surgery after neo-adjuvant chemotherapy in women with cervical cancer larger than 4 cm: a systematic review


Objective The objective of this systematic review was to assess the oncologic and fertility outcomes of patients with cervix-confined cancer >4 cm who underwent neo-adjuvant chemotherapy followed by fertility-sparing surgery.

Methods This study was registered in PROSPERO (registration number CRD42021254816). PubMed/MEDLINE, ClinicalTrials, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, SCOPUS, and OVID databases were searched from inception to July 2021. The included patients were those with cancer confined to the cervix and tumor diameter >4 cm (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) 2018 stage IB3) with squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, or adenosquamous carcinoma who underwent intra-venous neo-adjuvant chemotherapy followed by successful fertility-sparing surgery.

Results The initial search identified 2990 articles. A total of 40 patients from 11 studies had attempted fertility preservation surgery (conization, simple or radical trachelectomy) and in 26 patients (65%) it was successful. All patients received platinum-based chemotherapy. A complete pathological response occurred in 56% of patients and two patients (7.7%) had a recurrence. The 4.5-year disease-free survival was 92.3% and the 4.5-year overall survival rate was 100%. Of six patients who tried to conceive, four (67%) achieved at least one pregnancy and three of the five pregnancies (60%) were pre-term deliveries (all after radical trachelectomy). All patients with recurrence received cisplatin and ifosfamide instead of cisplatin and paclitaxel, underwent non-radical surgery, and had residual disease in the final specimen.

Conclusions Evidence for fertility-sparing surgery after neo-adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with cervical cancer and tumors >4 cm is limited, and this approach should be considered as an experimental intervention. As the use of non-radical surgery could be a risk factor, if neo-adjuvant chemotherapy is used, patients should undergo fertility-sparing radical surgery.

  • cervical cancer

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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