Journal of the European Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy


Impact of surgeon learning curve in minimally invasive radical hysterectomy on early stage cervical cancer patient survival

L. Pedone Anchora 1, N. Bizzarri 1, V. Gallotta 1, V. Chiantera 2, F. Fanfani 1,3, A. Fagotti 3, F. Cosentino 4, G. Vizzielli 1, V. Carbone 1, G. Ferrandina 1,3, G. Scambia 1,3

1 Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli, IRCCS, UOC Ginecologia Oncologica, Dipartimento per la salute della Donna e del Bambino e della Salute Pubblica, Roma, Italy
2 Department of Gynecologic Oncology, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy
3 Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Istituto di Ginecologia e Ostetricia, Roma, Italy
4 Gemelli Molise, Dipartimento di Oncologia, UOC Ginecologia Oncologica, Campobasso, Italy


cervical cancer, minimally invasive, radical hysterectomy, experience, learning curve, laparoscopy

Published online: Sep 24 2021


Background: Recently, it has been sustained that only surgeons skilled in minimally invasive radical hysterectomy (MI-RH) could provide valuable oncological outcomes in early-stage cervical cancer. Still, literature lacks data correlating surgeon experience with patient survival rate. We aimed to investigate the impact of surgeon training on this rate.

Methods: This is a retrospective study of 243 early-stage cervical cancer treated with MI-RH. Multiple regression analyses were undertaken to investigate the impact of the surgeons learning curve, according to the number of MI-RH, on patients prognosis.

Results: A steady trend of reduction in disease recurrence risk is associated with increased surgeon experience. The peak of the learning curve was shown at the 19th MI-RH (hazard ratio of disease-free survival: 0.321; 95%CI: 0.140-0.737; p= 0.007). The 3 years disease-free survival that a surgeon could provide to patients is significantly lower at the beginning of his/her learning path comparing to what he/she could guarantee once adequate experience had been achieved (75.4% and 91.6% respectively, p=0.005). Surgeon experience appears to be an independent prognostic factor.

Conclusion: The experience that a surgeon can achieve practicing in MI-RH significantly influences oncological outcomes of early-stage cervical cancer patients. Future studies comparing minimally invasive and open surgery should take this into account. It would be advisable that the scientific community precisely establishes the minimum training required in the field of MI-RH for early-stage cervical cancer.