Salvage surgery for patients with residual disease after chemoradiation therapy for locally advanced cervical cancer: A systematic review on indication, complications, and survival

K.G.G. van Kol*, R.M.F. Ebisch, J.M.J. Piek, P.L.M. Zusterzeel, T.F.M. Vergeldt, R.L.M. Bekkers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review

7 Citations (Web of Science)


Introduction Standard treatment for locally advanced cervical cancer is chemoradiation therapy. Treatment with chemoradiation therapy harbors a risk of local residual disease, which can be curatively treated with salvage surgery, but the risk of complications following surgical procedures in radiated tissue is not negligible. The presence of residual disease can be radiologically and/or histologically diagnosed. The objective of this study is to describe studies that report on salvage surgery for patients with locally advanced cervical cancer after primary treatment with chemoradiation therapy. Therefore, we assessed the method of determining the presence of residual disease, the risk of complications, and the survival rate after salvage surgery.Material and methods PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane database were searched from inception up to 6 March 2020. Titles and abstracts were independently assessed by two researchers. Studies were eligible for inclusion when patients had locally advanced cervical cancer with radiologically suspected or histologically confirmed residual disease after chemoradiation therapy, diagnosed with a CT, MRI, or PET-CT scan, or biopsy. Information on complications after salvage surgery and survival outcomes had to be reported. Methodological quality of the articles was independently assessed by two researchers with the Newcastle-Ottawa scale.Results Of the 2963 screened articles, six studies were included, representing 220 women. A total of 175 patients were treated with salvage surgery, of whom 27%-100% had residual disease on the surgery specimen. Of the 161 patients treated with salvage surgery based on positive biopsy results, 72%-100% showed residual disease on the surgery specimen. Of the 44 patients treated with salvage surgery based on suspected residual disease on radiology, 27%-48% showed residual disease on the salvage surgery specimen. A total of 105 complications were registered in 175 patients treated with salvage surgery. The overall survival rate after salvage surgery was 69% (mean follow-up period of 24.9 months).Conclusions It is necessary to confirm residual disease by biopsy before performing salvage surgery in patients with locally advanced cervical cancer primarily treated with chemoradiation therapy. Salvage surgery only based on radiologically suspected residual disease should be avoided to prevent unnecessary surgery and complications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1176-1185
Number of pages10
JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Issue number7
Early online date20 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • chemoradiation therapy
  • complications
  • locally advanced cervical cancer
  • recurrence
  • residual disease
  • salvage surgery
  • survival

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