Medline: 8431905

Cancer 71(4, Suppl): 1673-1677, 1993.

Conservative management of early vulvar cancer.

Hacker NF, Van der Velden J


There is a definite trend toward vulvar conservation and individualized management of patients with early vulvar cancer. This approach initially was used only for patients with T1 disease, but with increasing experience with conservative surgery and the integration of postoperative adjuvant radiation when appropriate, some investigators have broadened the indications to include carefully selected patients with T2 lesions. A recent literature review suggests that the local invasive recurrence rate for T1 disease is 7.2% (12 of 165) after radical local excision compared with 6.3% (23 of 365) after radical vulvectomy (P = 0.85). Surgical margins must be at least 1 cm, and the rest of the vulva must be healthy if an increased local recurrence rate is to be avoided. Local recurrences usually can be treated successfully if diagnosed early, but recurrence in the groin is usually fatal. Inguinal-femoral lymphadenectomy should be done on all patients if the primary tumor is more than 2 cm in diameter and in patients with T1 disease in whom the depth of invasion is greater than 1 mm. Separate groin incisions may be used, but pelvic and groin irradiation should be given if there is at least one large node replaced with tumor or multiple nodes containing micrometastases. Careful patient selection is critical if modified operations are used, or an increased rate of recurrence will follow. (36 Refs)

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