Clear cell carcinoma of the uterine cervix: clinical characteristics and feasibility of fertility-preserving treatment
Xiang Jiang, Ying Jin, Yan Li, Hui-Fang Huang, Ming Wu, Keng Shen, Ling-Ya Pan
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, People's Republic of China
Abstract: The objective of this retrospective study was to analyze the clinical characteristics and prognosis of clear cell adenocarcinoma (CCA) in the post-diethylstilbestrol (DES) era and to evaluate the feasibility of fertility-preserving treatment. The records of 32 patients with CCAs who were treated at Peking Union Medical College Hospital from August 1986 to June 2012 were retrospectively reviewed. Three of the patients had undergone fertility-preserving treatment. The incidence of CCA among cervical adenocarcinomas was 15.2%. The median age was 38 years: 11 patients (34.4%) were diagnosed before 30 years of age and two (6.3%) after 70 years of age. Ten patients (31.2%) were nulliparous. No patient had been exposed to DES. Twenty-nine patients (90.6%) presented with obvious symptoms, and the cervix appeared abnormal in 26 patients (81.3%). Cervical Papanicolaou (Pap) tests were abnormal in all four patients in whom they were performed (three had high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions and one had atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance). The distribution by stage was 56.3% stage I, 34.4% stage II, 6.3% stage III, and 3.1% stage IV. Treatments mainly included surgery for patients with stage I to IIA CCA and radiochemotherapy for patients with advanced CCA. The overall 5-year progression-free survival was 72.2%. Patients with stage I to IIA CCA had better 5-year progression-free survival than did patients with stage IIB to IV CCA (81.5% versus 40.0%, P=0.003). The three patients who had undergone fertility-preserving treatment had no recurrences. CCA may also affect adolescents and children without prior DES exposure, who are often misdiagnosed as having functional uterine bleeding. Radiotherapy appears to be effective for local control but to have no effect on distant recurrences. In our study, the prognosis of patients with early-stage CCA, including those who had undergone fertility-preserving treatment, was not inferior to that of patients with other types of cervical adenocarcinoma.
Keywords: clear cell carcinoma, cervix, diagnosis, prognosis, fertility-preserving
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