Recurrence patterns and surveillance for patients with early stage endometrial cancer

Ritu Salani, Christa I. Nagel, Erica Drennen, Robert E. Bristow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Introduction: To evaluate the recurrence patterns and the clinical and economic role of surveillance with vaginal cytology in women with low risk endometrial cancer. Methods: Patients undergoing primary surgery with final pathology consistent with a grade 1 endometrial cancer confined to the endometrium (FIGO 1988 stage IA) between 9/1997-12/2007 were retrospectively identified. Follow-up data for at least 2 years was also collected, including diagnosis of a recurrence, symptomatology at that time, and method of detection. Costs for vaginal cytology were estimated using Medicare charge-to-cost ratios adjusted to 2010 costs. Results: One hundred fifty-four patients met study inclusion criteria. The mean age was 54.4 years and the mean follow-up was 46.9 months. Four recurrences were detected, occurring 16-73 months after the initial diagnosis. During a scheduled visit, one patient was found to have an asymptomatic vaginal cuff recurrence, detected on physical examination. The remaining three cases were diagnosed at an unscheduled visit after the presence of symptoms (vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, shortness of breath) prompted further evaluation. In all, cytology detected no cases of recurrence and the estimated cost associated with cytology alone for all patients over the study time frame was approximately $7,760 per year. Conclusions: Patients with grade 1 endometrial cancer confined to the endometrium have a low risk of recurrence (2.6%) and were detected on clinical findings alone. Emphasis should be placed on counseling patients on symptoms of recurrence and performing a thorough physical examination. The elimination of vaginal cytology for this select group of patients may be appropriate and result in a significant reduction in health care costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-207
Number of pages3
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Cytology
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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