Medline: 3565317

American Journal of Clinical Oncology 10(2): 171-181, 1987.

Combined therapy as an alternative to exenteration for locally advanced vulvovaginal cancer: II. Results, complications, and dosimetric and surgical considerations.

Boronow RC, Hickman BT, Reagan MT, et al.


We have introduced a therapeutic alternative to exenteration for locally advanced vulvovaginal cancer using surgery for the vulvar (external genital) phase of this disease presentation, combined with radiotherapy for the internal genital phase (with adequate overlap of fields to protect surgical margins). The rationale is that this approach treats the cancer and its dual regional spread patterns, while at the same time preserving the bladder and/or rectum, and should be associated with less morbidity and mortality than exenterative surgery. This report updates our experience with a total of 48 treated cases (37 primary cases and 11 cases of recurrent disease). Of the 37 primary cases, 20 were FIGO stage III, 4 were FIGO stage IV, and 3 other cases represented "field" cancers involving vulva and/or cervix and/or vagina. Utilizing a Life Table analysis, the 5-year survival for the primary cases was 75.6%. Published FIGO survival for stage III is 32% and for stage IV 10.5%. Life Table analysis projects a 62.6% survival for recurrent cases and an overall 72% 5-year survival for all 48 cases treated. With 48 patients treated, 48 bladders and 48 rectums were at risk for surgical removal had exenteration been employed. One patient had a total pelvic exenteration for local failure, and one had a posterior exenteration for local failure. One bladder and one rectum were lost to permanent diversion because of radiation injury. Thus, 5 of these major viscera were lost of the 96 total, and 91 (94.8%) were retained. Radiation therapy and surgical details have been reviewed relevant to local control and local failure and complications. The continuing evolution of treatment modifications of all modalities will be discussed. The apparent advantages of this combined therapeutic approach over exenterative surgery include high probability of bladder and/or rectal preservation, low primary mortality, low treatment morbidity, and very good results in cancer control.

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Dr. G. Quade