Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A study of the treatment of cancer of the womb (ASTEC - Surgery)
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This trial was looking at the treatment of womb cancer. There were 2 parts to the trial. It was looking into
- Surgery to remove
- Radiotherapy after surgery
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
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)
- Half had a hysterectomy and BSO, but also had lymph nodes removed (
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 (
How to join a clinical trial
Professor HC Kitchener
Medical Research Council (MRC)