Advanced primary carcinoma of the Bartholin gland: report of 18 patients

Eur J Gynaecol Oncol. 2001;22(1):46-9.


Conservative surgery plus radiotherapy for vulvar cancer has been established as a therapeutic alternative to extensive radical surgery and produces a similar cumulative 5-year survival. We retrospectively analyzed the cases of 18 patients with advanced primary carcinoma of the Bartholin gland treated with wide local excision (WLE) or radical vulvectomy and lymphadenectomy followed by radiotherapy (RT) at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center from January 1978 through December 1990. All patients have been observed for a minimum of 7 months (maximum follow-up, 15 years; median follow-up, 9 years). Of the 18 patients, 7 were treated with wide local excision (WLE) followed by radiation therapy (RT) (Group 1), 9 had radical vulvectomy (RV) followed by RT to the vulvar and inguinal-femoral and pelvic node areas (Group II), and 2 were treated with RT alone after biopsy of the tumor (Group III). The 5-year disease-free survival rates were 86%, 78%, and 50% for groups I, II, and III, respectively, and 83% for the whole group. Of 2 patients treated with RT alone, one lived for 6 years with no evidence of disease, and the other lived for 20 months. The rate of local tumor control was 100% for all three treatment groups. There were no significant differences among the treatment groups in rate of primary tumor control or 5-year disease-free survival rate (p=0.1300). The present study demonstrated WLE followed by RT is the best treatment for advanced primary carcinoma of the Bartholin gland. Less radical surgery plus RT produces good long-term survival and has fewer complications.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Adenocarcinoma / therapy
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bartholin's Glands / pathology*
  • Bartholin's Glands / radiation effects
  • Bartholin's Glands / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures
  • Humans
  • Lymph Node Excision / adverse effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / secondary
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / therapy