Gynecologic Oncology

Upper abdominal surgery in advanced and recurrent ovarian cancer: role of diaphragmatic surgery.

Gynecol Oncol. 2010 Mar;116(3):497-501. Epub 2009 Dec 11.

Fanfani F, Fagotti A, Gallotta V, Ercoli A, Pacelli F, Costantini B, Vizzielli G, Margariti PA, Garganese G, Scambia G.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division on Gynecologic Oncology, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Largo Agostino Gemelli 8, Rome, Italy.

Upper abdominal spread of primary and recurrent ovarian cancer is often considered to be a major obstacle to achieve optimal residual disease at the end of surgery. In this study, we investigate the role of diaphragmatic debulking in the natural history of advanced and recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer patients, and the morbidity of this procedure according to clinico-surgical characteristics.

Data from 234 consecutive patients with primary and recurrent advanced ovarian cancer, operated at Catholic University of Rome and Campobasso from January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2008, were retrospectively reviewed.

Eighty-seven patients (37.2%) underwent a diaphragmatic surgery. Median age was 55 years (range 37-76). Diaphragmatic debulking was performed in 50 out of 120 patients at primary surgery (41.7%), in 16 out of 74 at interval debulking surgery (21.6%) and in 21 out of 40 secondary cytoreductions (52.5%). In the whole study population optimal residual disease at the end of surgery was achieved. The most frequent post-operative complication was pleural effusion, observed in 37 patients (42.5%). Presence of a post-operative pleural effusion was correlated liver mobilization (52.3% vs. 16%; p5 cm) removal (54.1% vs. 23.5%; p<0.034).

Diaphragmatic surgery represents a crucial step in the debulking of advanced and recurrent ovarian cancer patients. Considering the natural history of advanced epithelial ovarian cancer and the rate of patients needing diaphragmatic debulking during primary cytoreduction, interval debulking surgery and secondary cytoreduction, this procedure should be present in the surgical repertoire of a gynecologic oncologist.