The pelvic retroperitoneal approach in the treatment of advanced ovarian carcinoma

P. Benedetti-Panici, F. Maneschi, G. Scambia, G. Cutillo, S. Greggi, S. Mancuso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To evaluate the feasibility, complications, and clinical role of pelvic cytoreduction using the retroperitoneal approach in the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer. Methods: We studied 66 women with previously untreated advanced ovarian cancer who underwent pelvic retroperitoneal surgery. The possibility of achieving extrapelvic cytoreduction (residual disease less than 2 cm), involvement of the Douglas cul-de-sac or vesicouterine fold, or the presence of a frozen pelvis were indications for the retroperitoneal approach. Operative time, blood loss and transfusions, perioperative complications, and postoperative stay were analyzed prospectively. The performance status of each patient was assessed preoperatively and postoperatively. Results: The pelvic retroperitoneal approach was used in 66 of 147 (45%) consecutive patients who underwent primary surgery with intent of cytoreduction. This approach was necessary in 60 of 94 (64%) patients with residual tumor less than 0.5 cm and contributed to achieving such a minimal residual disease in 36 of 38 (95%) stage IIB- IIIB and 58 of 109 (53%) IIIC-IV patients. Severe morbidity, but with no long-term sequelae, occurred in six (9%) patients. Before surgery, only ten (15%) of these patients had a performance status grade 0-1, 21 (32%) had grade 2, and 35 (53%) grade 3-4. After surgery, these figures were 52 (79%), 14 (21%), and 0, respectively. The 5-year survival rate was 37%, with a median survival and follow-up time of 27 months (range 4-98) and 43 months, respectively. Conclusion: If the proper technique is used, complete pelvic cytoreduction is always feasible and morbidity is acceptable. In our series, it was necessary to approach the pelvis retroperitoneally in 64% of optimally cytoreduced patients, which suggests that this technique has an important clinical role in the treatment of patients with advanced ovarian cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)532-538
Number of pages7
JournalObstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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