Management of locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the vulva

J Gynecol Surg. 1991 Fall;7(3):175-82. doi: 10.1089/gyn.1991.7.175.


Carcinoma of the vulva is an uncommon malignancy, accounting for 5% of gynecologic cancers. Patients who have locally advanced disease often cannot be managed locally by a radical vulvar resection. Current approaches to the treatment of locally advanced vulvar cancer include ultraradical surgery, radiotherapy, or a combination of treatment modalities. Ultraradical surgery has been used for patients with clinically resectable vulvar lesions and generally has consisted of a radical vulvar operation combined with a partial or total pelvic exenterative type procedure. The use of primary radiotherapy for carcinoma of the vulva remains controversial but may be the only option available when the patient has unresectable disease. Data have accumulated to confirm that megavoltage radiotherapy can cause marked regression of even locally advanced vulvar carcinoma to the point where a more limited resection can then be undertaken, often with an improved resection margin, with sparing of organ function, and improved quality of life. As with preoperative radiotherapy, combined chemoradiotherapy with or without resection has been used increasingly, with some promising results in several squamous cell carcinomas. There are few data on this type of treatment for carcinoma of the vulva.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / radiotherapy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy / adverse effects
  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / surgery
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / therapy*