Failure to detect metastasis to para-aortic nodes in patients with locally advanced cervical cancer leads to suboptimal treatment. No previous studies have prospectively compared positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) with laparoscopic extraperitoneal staging in the evaluation of para-aortic lymph nodes.
Sixty-five patients were enrolled; 60 were available for analysis. Patients with stage IB2-IVA cervical cancer without evidence of para-aortic lymphadenopathy on preoperative CT or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were prospectively enrolled. All patients underwent preoperative PET/CT. Laparoscopic extraperitoneal lymphadenectomy was performed from the common iliac vessels to the left renal vein.
The median age at diagnosis was 48 years (range, 23-84). The median operative time was 140 minutes (range, 89-252). The median blood loss was 22.5 mL (range, 5-150). The median length of hospital stay was 1 day (range, 0-4). The median number of lymph nodes retrieved was 11 (range, 1-39). Fourteen (23%) patients had histopathologically positive para-aortic nodes. Of the 26 patients with negative pelvic and para-aortic nodes on PET/CT, 3 (12%) had histopathologically positive para-aortic nodes. Of the 27 patients with positive pelvic but negative para-aortic nodes on PET/CT, 6 (22%) had histopathologically positive para-aortic nodes. The sensitivity and specificity of PET/CT in detecting positive para-aortic nodes when nodes were negative on CT or MRI were 36% and 96%, respectively. Eleven (18.3%) patients had a treatment modification based on surgical findings.
Laparoscopic extraperitoneal para-aortic lymphadenectomy is safe and feasible. Surgical staging of patients with locally advanced cervical cancer should be considered before planned radiation and chemotherapy. Cancer 2011. © 2010 American Cancer Society.