Objectives. From May 1993 until June 1997, the Gynecologic Oncology Group undertook a study of women with cancer of the cervix (Stage IA, IB, and IIA) who were about to undergo radical abdominal hysterectomy, pelvic lymphadenectomy, and aortic lymph node sampling. Immediately before this surgery, laparoscopy was performed and removal of the lymph nodes was attempted. There were two objectives: (1) to obtain information on the adverse effects and difficulties associated with laparoscopic lymph node removal and (2) to determine the adequacy of the lymph node removal. Methods. Four methods determined the adequacy of the lymph node removal: (1) the surgeon's opinion during laparoscopy, (2) a photographic record reviewed by two independent observers, (3) inspection of the surgical sites at laparotomy, and (4) lymph node count. Results. Seventy-three women were entered onto the study. Four patients were judged ineligible; 2 did not undergo laparoscopy and 17 women did not complete laparoscopic surgery because of metastatic lymph nodes judged unresectable or complications. Ten women were inevaluable. The remaining 40 women were completely evaluable for protocol objectives. All cases of bilateral laparoscopic aortic lymph node sampling were judged adequate by all four methods of evaluation. For laparoscopic pelvic lymphadenectomy 6 were judged incomplete at laparotomy, 3 of which were judged incomplete by independent reviewers. The mean number of right pelvic nodes removed was 16.6; left pelvic nodes 15.5; right aortic nodes 6.2; and left aortic nodes 5.9. Conclusions. Laparoscopic bilateral aortic lymph node sampling appeared to be reasonably safe and feasible. Laparoscopic therapeutic bilateral pelvic lymphadenectomy, although having a reasonable complication rate, demonstrated problems regarding adequacy, which are probably correctable.
- Cervix cancer