The prognostic significance of pelvic and para-aortic lymphadenectomy during primary debulking surgery for advanced-stage ovarian cancer remains unclear. This study aimed to evaluate the survival impact of lymph node dissection (LND) in patients treated with optimal cytoreduction for advanced ovarian cancer. Data from 158 consecutive patients with stage IIIC-IV disease who underwent optimal cytoreduction (< 1 cm) were obtained via retrospective chart review. Patients were classified into two groups: (1) lymph node sampling (LNS), node count < 20; and (2) LND, node count ≥ 20. Progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method. Among the included patients, 96 and 62 patients underwent LND and LNS as primary debulking surgery, respectively. There were no differences in the extent of debulking surgical procedures, including extensive upper abdominal surgery, between the groups. Patients who underwent LND had a marginally significantly improved PFS (P = 0.059) and significantly improved OS (P < 0.001) compared with those who underwent LNS. In a subgroup with negative lymphadenopathy on preoperative computed tomography scans, revealed LND correlated with a better PFS and OS (P = 0.042, 0.001, respectively). Follow-ups of subsequent recurrences observed a significantly lower nodal recurrence rate among patients who underwent LND. A multivariate analysis identified LND as an independent prognostic factor for PFS (hazard ratio [HR], 0.629; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.400-0.989) and OS (HR, 0.250; 95% CI, 0.137-0.456). In conclusion, systematic LND might have therapeutic value and improve prognosis for patients with optimally cytoreduced advanced ovarian cancer.
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