Background To evaluate the impacts of the negative lymph nodes (NLNs) count on the prognostic prediction of the ratio of positive and removed lymph nodes (RPL) in cervical cancer patients after radical hysterectomy and pelvic lymphadenectomy (RHPL). Methods The positive and negative lymph node counts were calculated for 609 postoperative cervical cancer patients. The 5-year survival rate (5-YSR) was examined according to clinicopathologic variables. Cox regression was used to identify independent prognostic factors. Results The NLNs count cutoffs were determined to be 10 and 25 with 5-YSR of 62.8% and 80.5%. The RPL of 13 patients who had the NLNs count of 10 or fewer was >20%. Among 242 patients who had 10 < NLNs count ≤ 25, 194 without positive nodes had the 5-YSR of 77.8%, 31 with 0% < RPL ≤ 5% had the 5-YSR of 3.2%, 15 with RPL > 20% had died when follow-up was completed. Among 354 patients who had NLNs count >25, 185 without positive nodes had the 5-YSR of 87.6%, 6 with 0% < RPL ≤ 5% had the 5-YSR of 25%, 15 with 5% < RPL ≤ 20% had the 5-YSR of 4.5%, and 2 with RPL >20% had died when follow-up was completed. Furthermore, stage, histologic grade and RPL were independently correlated with overall survival of cervical cancer patients after RHPL in the multivariate analysis. Conclusions RPL was an independent prognostic factor. The NLNs count is a key factor for improvement of survival prediction of RPL in cervical cancer.