Vulvar carcinoma - The price of less radical surgery

Joanne A. de Hullu, Harry Hollema, Sietske Lolkema, Marike Boezen, Henk Boonstra, Matthe P. M. Burger, Jan G. Aalders, Marian J. E. Mourits, Ate G. J. van der Zee

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BACKGROUND. The objective of this study was to determine whether modifications in the treatment of patients with vulvar carcinoma influence the rates of recurrence and survival. METHODS. Between 1982 and 1997, 253 patients with T1 and T2 invasive squamous cell carcinoma of the vulva were treated by essentially the same team of gynecologic oncologists, and 168 patients (Group I) underwent radical vulvectomy with en bloc inguinofemoral lymphadenectomy. Standard therapy was changed in 1993, and 85 patients (Group II) underwent wide local excision with inguinofemoral lymphadenectomy through separate incisions. The rates of recurrence and survival were compared between both groups. RESULTS. In Group II, the overall recurrence rate (33.3%) within 4 years was increased compared with Group I (19.9%; P = 0.03). In Group II, 5 of 79 patients (6.3%) developed fatal groin or skin bridge recurrences compared with 2 of 159 patients (1.3%) in Group I (P = 0.029); this did not result in a difference in overall survival. In Group 11, 40 of 79 patients had tumor free margins measuring less than or equal to 8 mm, resulting in 9 local recurrences; whereas 39 of 79 patients had tumor free margins measuring > 8 mm, resulting in no local recurrences (P = 0.002). CONCLUSIONS. The current study showed that fatal recurrences in either the groin or the skin bridge were more frequent after wide local excision and inguinofemoral lymphadenectomy through separate incisions; however, probably due to lack of power, this did not result in shorter survival. In 40 of 79 patients, the histologic margins measured less than or equal to 8 mm, resulting in a high risk of local recurrences. Therefore, the authors recommend obtaining surgical margins of 2 cm for the local treatment of patients with vulvar carcinoma. (C) 2002 American Cancer Society
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2331-2338
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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