Adjuvant chemotherapy for endometrial cancer after hysterectomy

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Abstract

Background Endometrial adenocarcinoma (womb cancer) is a malignant growth of the lining (endometrium) of the womb (uterus). It is distinct from sarcomas (tumours of the uterine muscle). Survival depends the risk of microscopic metastases after surgery. Adjuvant (postoperative) chemotherapy improves survival from some other adenocarcinomas, and there is evidence that endometrial cancer is sensitive to cytotoxic therapy. This systematic review examines the effect of chemotherapy on survival after hysterectomy for endometrial cancer. Objectives To assess efficacy of adjuvant (postoperative) chemotherapy for endometrial cancer. Search strategy We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL, The Cochrane Library 2010, Issue 3), MEDLINE and EMBASE up to August 2010, registers of clinical trials, abstracts of scientific meetings, reference lists of included studies and contacted experts in the field. Selection criteria Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing adjuvant chemotherapy with any other adjuvant treatment or no other treatment. Data collection and analysis We used a random-effects meta-analysis to assess hazard ratios (HR) for overall and progression-free survival and risk ratios (RR) to compare death rates and site of initial relapse. Main results Five RCTs compared no additional treatment with additional chemotherapy after hysterectomy and radiotherapy. Four trials compared platinum based combination chemotherapy directly with radiotherapy. Indiscriminate pooling of survival data from 2197 women shows a significant overall survival advantage from adjuvant chemotherapy (RR (95% CI) = 0.88 (0.79 to 0.99)). Sensitivity analysis focused on trials of modern platinum based chemotherapy regimens and found the relative risk of death to be 0.85 ((0.76 to 0.96); number needed to treat for an additional beneficial outcome (NNT) = 25; absolute risk reduction = 4% (1% to 8%)). The HR for overall survival is 0.74 (0.64 to 0.89), significantly favouring the addition of postoperative platinum based chemotherapy. The HR for progression-free survival is 0.75 (0.64 to 0.89). This means that chemotherapy reduces the risk of being dead at any censorship by a quarter. Chemotherapy reduces the risk of developing the first recurrence outside the pelvis (RR = 0.79 (0.68 to 0.92), 5% absolute risk reduction; NNT = 20). The analysis of pelvic recurrence rates is underpowered but the trend suggests that chemotherapy may be less effective than radiotherapy in a direct comparison (RR = 1.28 (0.97 to 1.68)) but it may have added value when used with radiotherapy (RR = 0.48 (0.20 to 1.18)). Authors' conclusions Postoperative platinum based chemotherapy is associated with a small benefit in progression-free survival and overall survival irrespective of radiotherapy treatment. It reduces the risk of developing a metastasis, could be an alternative to radiotherapy and has added value when used with radiotherapy.

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  • Cancer and Oncology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)CD003175
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes