Secondary Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

The Significance of Para-Aortic Nodal Size and the Role of Adjuvant Systemic Chemotherapy in Cervical Cancer

An Institutional Experience

Manders, Dustin B., MD*; Sims, Travis T., MD; Bailey, April, MD†,‡; Hwang, Lindsay, MD; Richardson, Debra L., MD*; Miller, David S., MD*; Kehoe, Siobhan M., MD*; Albuquerque, Kevin V., MD§; Lea, Jayanthi S., MD*

American Journal of Clinical Oncology: December 2018 - Volume 41 - Issue 12 - p 1225–1230
doi: 10.1097/COC.0000000000000458
Original Articles: Gynecologic

Objective: Cervical cancer metastatic to the para-aortic lymph nodes (PALNs) carries a poor prognosis. Despite extended-field radiation therapy (EFRT), only 30% to 50% of patients will survive 3 years. We sought to examine the treatment regimens used, associated toxicities, and treatment outcomes in patients with cervical cancer metastatic to PALN.

Methods: A retrospective review was performed of all patients with cervical cancer treated at a single institution between January 1, 2007 and November 1, 2014. Included patients had PALN metastases as the most distant site of disease, and all treatment plans were designated as curative. Excluded patients had other distant disease or treatment plans considered palliative. Standard treatment consisted of EFRT with concurrent platinum-based chemotherapy.

Results: Fifty-one of 344 patients (14.8%) fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The median age was 48.4 years. Forty-four patients received standard EFRT; 7 also received adjuvant platinum/taxane chemotherapy. Thirty-nine of 51 (76%) of patients achieved a complete response to primary treatment. Twelve of 51 (24%) had persistent disease or progression at the completion of treatment. Of responders, 15 of 39 (38%) recurred for an overall treatment failure rate of 27 of 51 (53%). Nineteen of 27 (70%) of treatment failures occurred outside the radiated field. Adjuvant chemotherapy following EFRT was not predictive of progression-free survival or overall survival. PALN diameter ≥1 cm was a significant negative prognostic indicator for overall survival.

Conclusions: Over half of patients with cervical cancer metastatic to the PALN failed extended-field chemoradiation. Most failures occurred outside the radiated field suggesting PALN involvement is a surrogate marker of systemic disease. These findings underscore the need for effective systemic therapy, especially in patients with PALN ≥1 cm in size.

*Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Gynecologic Oncology

Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology


§Radiation Oncology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Travis T. Sims, MD, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, TX 75390-9032. E-mail:

Copyright © 2018 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.