Vulvar squamous cell carcinoma: guidelines for early diagnosis and treatment

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Sep;189(3 Suppl):S17-23. doi: 10.1067/s0002-9378(03)00792-0.


The incidence of vulvar squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the most common vulvar cancer in women, is increasing worldwide. Furthermore, despite the increasing prevalence, this disease is commonly misdiagnosed by physicians. Unfortunately, late-stage vulvar SCC has a poorer prognosis compared with early vulvar neoplasia and requires aggressive therapy such as radical surgical intervention. Therefore, early diagnosis by physicians is critical to reduce both the mortality and morbidity rates of vulvar SCC. This review discusses the etiology, clinical characteristics, and diagnostic staging of vulvar SCC. Treatment options are reviewed, including novel topical immunotherapies such as imiquimod.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy*
  • Female
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Prognosis
  • Radiotherapy / methods
  • Risk Assessment
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vulva / surgery*
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / mortality
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / therapy*