A study of the treatment of cancer of the womb (ASTEC - Surgery)

Cancer type:

Womb (uterine or endometrial) cancer




Phase 3

This trial was looking at the treatment of womb cancer. There were 2 parts to the trial. It was looking into

This information is about the surgical part of the trial. We also have information about the radiotherapy part of the trial.

If it is diagnosed early, womb cancer can be cured by having surgery to remove the womb. But there is a risk that the cancer could come back. In this trial, researchers wanted to see if removing some lymph nodes Open a glossary item from either side of the womb, as well as the womb itself, reduced the risk of the cancer coming back. An operation to remove lymph nodes is called a lymphadenectomy.

The aim of this trial was to find out if women who had a hysterectomy with removal of lymph nodes for womb cancer lived longer than women who had just a hysterectomy.

Some of the women who took part, also took part in the radiotherapy part of the trial.

Summary of results

The trial team found that women who had lymph nodes removed did not live any longer than women who had standard surgery to remove just the womb.

The trial recruited 1,408 women with womb cancer that was stage 1 according to tests and scans they had before surgery.

  • Half the women had surgery to remove the womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries (hysterectomy and BSO Open a glossary item)
  • Half had a hysterectomy and BSO, but also had lymph nodes removed (lymphadenectomy Open a glossary item)

The number of women who had a side effect called lymphoedema after surgery was

  • 2 in the standard surgery group
  • 24 in the lymphadenectomy group

The trial team monitored the women taking part for an average of just over 3 years. They found that the number of women who were living without having had a recurrence of cancer was about the same in both groups.

The researchers found that removing lymph nodes as part of treatment did not help women in this trial. And it caused more problems with lymphoedema. So, the trial team came to the conclusion that removing lymph nodes should not become part of standard treatment for stage 1 womb cancer.

Doctors will still need to remove some lymph nodes if they look as though they may contain cancer cells. This helps them make decisions about further treatment after surgery.

We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor HC Kitchener

Supported by

Medical Research Council (MRC)

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 51

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials in the UK last year.

Last reviewed:

Rate this page:

No votes yet
Thank you!
We've recently made some changes to the site, tell us what you think

Share this page