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Fertility-Sparing Surgery in Early-Stage Cervical Cancer: Indications and Applications

Nadeem R. Abu-Rustum and Yukio Sonoda

This article describes the surgical and pathologic findings of fertility-sparing radical trachelectomy using a standardized surgical technique, and reports the rate of posttrachelectomy outcomes. The authors analyzed a prospectively maintained database of all patients with FIGO stage IA1–IB1 cervical cancer admitted to the operating room for planned fertility-sparing radical abdominal trachelectomy. Sentinel node mapping was performed through cervical injection. Between November 2001 and May 2010, 98 consecutive patients with FIGO stage IA1–IB1 cervical cancer and a median age of 32 years (range, 6–45 years) underwent a fertility-sparing radical trachelectomy. The most common histology was adenocarcinoma in 54 patients (55%) and squamous carcinoma in 42 (43%). Lymph-vascular invasion was seen in 38 patients (39%). FIGO stages included IA1 (with lymph-vascular invasion) in 10 patients (10%), IA2 in 9 (9%), and IB1 in 79 (81%). Only 15 (15%) needed immediate completion radical hysterectomy because of intraoperative findings. Median number of nodes evaluated was 22 (range, 3–54), and 16 (16%) patients had positive pelvic nodes on final pathology. Final trachelectomy pathology showed no residual disease in 44 (45%) cases, dysplasia in 5 (5%), and adenocarcinoma in situ in 3 (3%). Overall, 27 (27%) patients needed hysterectomy or adjuvant pelvic radiation postoperatively. One (1%) documented recurrence was fatal at the time of this report. Cervical adenocarcinoma and lymph-vascular invasion are common features of patients selected for radical trachelectomy. Most patients can undergo the operation successfully with many having no residual invasive disease; however, nearly 27% of all selected cases will require hysterectomy or postoperative chemoradiation for oncologic reasons. Investigation into alternative fertility-sparing adjuvant therapy in patients with node-positive disease is needed.