, Volume 271, Issue 4, pp 316-319
Date: 09 Jun 2004

Small-cell carcinoma of the uterus and the vagina: experience with ten patients

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Abstract

Background

Small cell carcinomas (small-CCs) of the uterine cervix are rare and highly malignant neoplasms. Patients tend to develop distant metastasis early and thus are potential candidates for systemic therapy. We reviewed the experience with small-CCs of the uterus and vagina at two Austrian University hospitals.

Material and methods

Ten patients (median age, 50 years; range, 18–92) with small-CC of the cervix (n=7), uterine corpus (n=2), and the vagina (n=1) were treated at the two centers between 1988 and 1998. Eight patients underwent radical surgery, 7 of whom also received chemotherapy. Two additional patients underwent primary radiotherapy.

Results

All Pap smears were suspicious for cervical malignancy. The median survival was 12 months (range, 6–86) and overall 5-year survival was 10%. Five of 8 surgically treated patients had lymph node involvement (62%). Of the 7 patients with small-CC of the cervix only one, who had FIGO stage IIB disease and positive pelvic nodes, survived long-term (86 months) with no evidence of disease. She had received six courses of dose-intensive platinum chemotherapy after radical surgery. All three patients with small-CC of the uterine corpus or vagina developed recurrence within the first year after diagnosis. Of the 7 patients who received chemotherapy, 5 developed progressive or recurrent disease in the paraaortic region (n=2), peritoneum (n=1), liver (n=1), or pelvis (n=1).

Conclusion

These results confirm the particularly unfavorable prognosis of patients with small-CC of the genital tract. The optimal treatment for these patients most probably including concurrent chemo-radiotherapy remains to be defined.