Ovaries can be saved in some endometrial cancers

New research suggests that the ovaries can be safely retained in premenopausal women with early-stage endometrial cancer.

“Our research suggests that oncologists may no longer need to remove the ovaries during surgery in younger women with early-stage endometrial cancer, which has been the standard approach for many years,” lead author Dr. Jason D. Wright said in a statement. “Leaving the ovaries intact appears to be a safe option that offers women a range of important short- and long-term health and quality of life benefits.”

As reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Wright, from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, and colleagues assessed the safety of ovarian preservation by analyzing data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER), a large national database, from 1988 to 2004.

The 3269 women studied were 45 years of age or younger and had stage I endometrial cancer. Of these subjects, 402 (12 percent) underwent ovarian preservation.

Ovarian preservation was performed more often among women who were younger, diagnosed more recently, residents of the eastern U.S., and had low-grade tumors, the report indicates.

On further analysis, ovarian preservation did not affect cancer survival or overall survival, the researchers note. This held true even after excluding women who had received pelvic radiotherapy.

“At present, the long-term risks and benefits of ovarian preservation should be carefully discussed with young women with endometrial cancer before hysterectomy,” the authors conclude.

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Oncology, online January 26, 2009.

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