ONCOLOGY Vol 20 No 1

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Surgical Staging in Endometrial Cancer

January 1st 2006

Early presentation of endometrial cancer permits effective managementwith excellent clinical outcome. The addition of hysteroscopy todilatation and curettage (D&C) in the evaluation of postmenopausalbleeding adds little to the detection of malignancy. Imaging studies suchas computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and positronemissiontomography may be of use in determining the presence ofextrauterine disease in patients medically unfit for surgical staging.However, these studies are not sufficiently sensitive to replace surgicalstaging and have little role in routine preoperative evaluation. Clinicalstaging alone is clearly inadequate, as 23% of preoperative clinicalstage I/II patients are upstaged with comprehensive surgical staging.Preoperative tumor grade from D&C or office biopsy may be inaccurateand lead to an underestimate of tumor progression if used to determinewhich patients should be surgically staged. Clinical estimationof depth of invasion, with or without frozen section, is inaccurate andmay lead to underestimation of disease status when surgical staging isnot performed. The practice of resecting only clinically suspicious nodesshould be discouraged as it is no substitute for comprehensive surgicalstaging. Comprehensive surgical staging provides proper guidance forpostoperative adjuvant therapy, avoiding needless radiation in 85% ofclinical stage I/II patients. Finally, resection of occult metastasis withsurgical staging may improve survival.