Sentinel lymph node (SLN) isolated tumor cells (ITCs) in otherwise stage I/II endometrioid endometrial cancer: To treat or not to treat?

F. J. Backes*, A. S. Felix, M. Plante, J. Grégoire, S. A. Sullivan, E. C. Rossi, E. J. Tanner, K. I. Stewart, P. T. Soliman, R. W. Holloway, N. R. Abu-Rustum, M. M. Leitao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objectives: To assess associations between treatment and recurrence-free survival (RFS) among patients with isolated tumor cells (ITCs) in sentinel lymph nodes (SLN) and otherwise stage I/II endometrioid endometrial cancer (EC). Methods: A multi-institutional retrospective study of patients with SLN ITCs (<200 cells and < 0.2 mm) was performed. Only patients with otherwise stage I/II EC, endometrioid histology, and no evidence of micro-or macrometastases were included. Univariate and multivariable Cox proportional hazard models were used to evaluate associations between treatment, tumor characteristics, and RFS. Results: 175 patients were included. Median follow up time was 31 months. 39% stage IB and 12% stage II disease. 76 (43%) received no adjuvant therapy or vaginal brachytherapy only (NAT/VBT), 21 (12%) had external beam radiation (EBRT), and 78 (45%) received chemotherapy +/− radiation. Patients who received chemotherapy more often had tumors with deep myoinvasion, lymphovascular space invasion (LVSI), and higher grade. Nine (5.1%) patients recurred; 5 distant, 3 retroperitoneal, and 1 vaginal. Extra-vaginal recurrences were similar in patients with or without chemotherapy (5.2% vs 3.8%, p = 0.68). After controlling for stage, LVSI and grade, chemotherapy and EBRT were not associated with RFS (HR = 0.63, 95%CI 0.11–3.52, and HR = 0.90, 95%CI 0.22–3.61, respectively). Type of lymph node dissection and ITC detection method were not associated with RFS. Conclusions: Risk of retroperitoneal and/or distant recurrence is low (4.6%) for patients with stage I/II endometrioid EC and ITCs in SLNs regardless of treatment. Our preliminary data suggests that adjuvant therapy may not be significantly associated with RFS. However, longer follow-up time and a larger sample size are needed before definitive recommendations regarding adjuvant therapy for patients with EC and only ITCs in SLN can be made.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-352
Number of pages6
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Oncology


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