Bartholin's gland carcinoma: a 15-year experience

Gynecol Oncol. 2001 Aug;82(2):247-51. doi: 10.1006/gyno.2001.6304.


Objective: Our objective was to review our experience with carcinoma of Bartholin's gland relative to treatment and oncologic outcome.

Methods: Patient names were collected from our vulvar cancer database for the period September 1985 to September 2000. The medical records were retrospectively reviewed, and data were abstracted relative to demographics, presenting symptoms, treatment, and oncologic outcome.

Results: We treated 12 women with Bartholin's gland carcinoma, and 11 patients are reported. Seven women presented with a painless vulvar mass, and 8 of 11 had initially been treated for an infectious process before referral to our institution. Squamous histology was most common, and the right gland was more frequently involved. Ten patients were treated with primary surgery, followed by adjuvant radiation in 7 for inadequate resection margins or lymphatic metastases. One patient was treated with primary chemoradiation. Stage I, II, III, IVA, and IVB disease was present in 3, 1, 4, 2, and 1 patient, respectively. Recurrence was suffered by 54.5% during a mean follow-up time of 73.5 months (median, 60; range, 8-180 months). Overall survival is 58.3% to date.

Conclusions: Conventional therapy for Bartholin's gland carcinoma yielded a 67% 5-year survival. Seventy-one percent of women receiving adjuvant radiotherapy recurred despite this precaution. Work is needed to identify an effective systemic therapy and to better determine which patients may benefit from pelvic radiotherapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / therapy
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bartholin's Glands / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / therapy*