April 2, 2019 – Lymph Nodes and Ovarian Cancer


Anchor lead: Removing lymph nodes may not help in advanced ovarian cancer, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Cancer cells can spread in the body by hitching a ride in lymph nodes, so removing them during surgery for cancer has always seemed like a good strategy. Now a new study looking at so called lymph node dissection in women with ovarian cancer shows the procedure isn’t helpful at all. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, describes the findings.

Nelson: Six hundred and forty-seven participants, so three hundred and some odd on either arm, and there was absolutely no difference in the ovarian cancer outcomes. No difference in overall survival, the propensity for the ovarian cancer to return, there were significant differences in complications following the operation including the need to be reoperated on, even stunningly 3.1% thirty day mortality following the operation, for those who receive the lymph node dissection versus 0.9% for those who did not. This suggests that this procedure should just plain be abandoned.  :34

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.