Lymphadenectomy in Ovarian Cancer Patients Can Be Unnecessary

(March 18, 2019) Before the most recent study on the usage of lymphadenectomy, published earlier this month in the New England Journal of Medicine, it was thought that surgically removing clinically negative lymph nodes had a positive effect on the patient’s health. Now, doctors are rethinking that approach. The LION, Lymphadenectomy in Ovarian Neoplasms, trial included over six hundred patients from around Germany diagnosed with FIGO stages IIB through IV advanced ovarian cancer. The goal of the trial was to assess overall survival in patients who received both primary cytoreduction surgery and a pelvic and paraaortic lymphadenectomy versus those who only had a primary cytoreduction surgery.

The results showed that there was no significant difference in overall survival but that there was an increased risk of complications from the lymphadenectomy. Therefore, many doctors are rethinking lymphadenectomies when appropriate. Medpage Today quoted Dr. Eric Eisenhauer of Massachusetts General Hospital as saying that, “Women with ovarian cancer in whom complete primary cytoreduction is achieved have the best prognosis and longest survival.”

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