Background. Minimal access surgery to stage early ovarian cancer (EOC) is still regarded as investigational among many gynecologic oncologists. Reporting outcome data from large cohorts is currently the only practical way to further define the appropriateness of minimally invasive surgery for EOC patients. We sought to investigate the safety, adequacy, and outcome of laparoscopic staging of EOC by using a multi-institutional sample. Methods. Prospectively collected data in three gynecologic oncology service databases were searched for EOC patients undergoing laparoscopic staging. Surgical, pathologic, and oncologic outcome data were analyzed. Results. The study cohort consisted of 82 women. The mean operative time was 263 ± 81 minutes. The median estimated blood loss was 100 (range 20-3000) ml. The median number of pelvic and para-aortic lymph nodes collected was 23 (3-39) and 13 (3-43), respectively. The disease was reclassified to a higher stage in 21 women (25.6%). No conversion to laparotomy occurred, and one patient had intraoperative hemorrhage requiring blood transfusion. Thirteen patients (15.8%) experienced postoperative complications. The median follow-up period was 28.5 (range 3-86) months. Overall survival and disease-free survival for the entire cohort were 98.8% and 95.1%, respectively. In the subgroup of patients who had reached or exceeded 3 years'follow-up (n = 34), 3-year overall survival and 3-year disease-free survival were 97% and 91.2%, respectively. Conclusions. When performed by appropriately skilled surgeons, laparoscopic comprehensive staging of EOC seems feasible and adequate, with surgicopathologic results that are reproducible in different practice settings.
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