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The Surgical Management of Cervical Cancer: An Overview and Literature Review

Roque, Dario R. MD*; Wysham, Weiya Z. MD*; Soper, John T. MD

Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey: July 2014 - Volume 69 - Issue 7 - p 426–441
doi: 10.1097/OGX.0000000000000089
CME Articles

Importance Surgery has evolved into the standard therapy for nonbulky carcinoma of the cervix. The mainstay of surgical management is radical hysterectomy; however, less radical procedures have a small but important role in the management of cervical tumors.

Objective Our objective was to discuss the literature behind the different procedures utilized in the management of cervical cancer, emphasizing the radical hysterectomy. In addition, we aimed to discuss ongoing trials looking at the utility of less radical surgeries as well as emerging technologies in the management of this disease.

Evidence Acquisition We performed a PubMed literature search for articles in the English language that pertained to the topic of surgical techniques and their outcomes in the treatment of cervical cancer.

Results The minimally invasive approaches to radical hysterectomy appear to reduce morbidity without affecting oncological outcomes, although further data are needed looking at long-term outcomes with the robotic platform. Trials are currently ongoing looking at the role of less radical surgery for patients with low-risk disease and the feasibility of sentinel lymph node mapping.

Conclusions and Relevance Radical hysterectomy with pelvic lymphadenectomy has evolved into the standard therapy for nonbulky disease, and there is a clear advantage in the use of minimally invasive techniques to perform these procedures. However, pending ongoing trials, less radical surgery in patients with low-risk invasive disease as well as sentinel lymph node mapping may emerge as standards of care in selected patients with cervical carcinoma.

Target Audience Obstetricians and gynecologists, family physicians

Learning Objectives After completing this CME activity, physicians should be better able to describe the role of cold knife cone and simple hysterectomy in the management of carcinoma of the cervix, identify the primary treatment options for patients with cervical cancer and their associated complications/adverse effects, compare the differences in surgical outcomes and complication rates between the different kinds of radical hysterectomies, and identify which patients qualify for fertility-sparing surgery.

*Clinical Fellow, †Professor, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

All authors and staff in a position to control the content of this CME activity and their spouses/life partners (if any) have disclosed that they have no financial relationships with, or financial interests in, any commercial organizations pertaining to this educational activity.

Correspondence requests to: Dario R. Roque, MD, University of North Carolina, Campus Box 7572, Physicians Office Bldg, Chapel Hill, NC 27599. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.