Vaginal cancer

Curr Treat Options Oncol. 2002 Apr;3(2):125-30. doi: 10.1007/s11864-002-0058-4.


Carcinoma of the vagina is an uncommon gynecologic cancer in the United States and throughout the world. Carcinoma in situ of the vagina and very early stage invasive carcinoma of the vagina may be treated with surgery. However, the standard therapeutic intervention for patients with carcinoma of the vagina is radiation therapy. In early stage vaginal carcinoma, radiation therapy is chosen for definitive treatment to preserve the anatomy and function of the vagina. In more advanced stages of vaginal carcinoma, radiation therapy is chosen as the standard treatment to avoid exenterative surgery, preserve anatomy and function, and to treat known or presumed lymph node metastasis. No randomized studies comparing irradiation alone versus irradiation and chemotherapy have been performed for patients with advanced carcinoma of the vagina. The standard therapy for patients with advanced cervical carcinoma is irradiation and concurrent cisplatin-based chemotherapy. Because the etiology and epidemiology of vaginal carcinoma appears identical to those of patients with invasive cervical carcinoma, patients with advanced vaginal carcinoma should be treated with irradiation and concurrent cisplatin-based chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cisplatin / therapeutic use*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Vaginal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Vaginal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Vaginal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Vaginal Neoplasms / surgery


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cisplatin