The risk of lymphedema after postoperative radiation therapy in endometrial cancer

Devarati Mitra, Paul J. Catalano, Nicole Cimbak, Antonio L. Damato, Michael G. Muto, Akila N. Viswanathan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: Lower extremity lymphedema adversely affects quality of life by causing discomfort, impaired mobility and increased risk of infection. The goal of this study is to investigate factors that influence the likelihood of lymphedema in patients with endometrial cancer who undergo adjuvant radiation with or without chemotherapy. Methods: A retrospective chart review identified all stage I–III endometrial cancer patients who had a hysterectomy with or without complete staging lymphadenectomy and adjuvant radiation therapy between January 2006 and February 2013. Patients with new-onset lymphedema after treatment were identified. Logistic regression was used to find factors that influenced lymphedema risk. Results: Of 212 patients who met inclusion criteria, 15 patients (7.1%) developed new-onset lymphedema. Lymphedema was associated with lymph-node dissection (odds ratio [OR], 5.6; 95% CI, 1.01 to 105.5; p=0.048) and with the presence of pathologically positive lymph nodes (OR, 4.1; 95% CI, 1.4 to 12.3; p=0.01). Multivariate logistic regression confirmed the association with lymph-node positivity (OR, 3.2; 95% CI, 1.0007 to 10.7; p=0.0499) when controlled for lymph-node dissection. Median time to lymphedema onset was 8 months (range, 1 to 58 months) with resolution or improvement in eight patients (53.3%) after a median of 10 months. Conclusion: Lymph-node positivity was associated with an increased risk of lymphedema in endometrial cancer patients who received adjuvant radiation. Future studies are needed to explore whether node-positive patients may benefit from early lymphedema-controlling interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere4
JournalJournal of Gynecologic Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Endometrial neoplasms
  • Lymphedema
  • Positive lymph nodes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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