Objective: The objective of this study was the prognostic analysis of clinicopathologic variables related to primary tumor and to lymph node metastases.
Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 389 cases of squamous cell carcinoma of the vulva. The following variables were studied: patients' age, diameter and location of the tumor, clinical tumor characteristics, depth of invasion, grade, lymphovascular space involvement (LVSI) and lymph node status. In the subset of 110 node positive patients, we evaluated number of positive nodes, laterality, extension of node dissection, lymph node chains involved, presence of extracapsular spread and rate of lymph node replacement. All variables with P value < 0.2 by the univariate analysis were successively subjected to multivariate analysis (Cox proportional hazard model).
Results: Among all the tumor-related variables age, clinical tumor characteristics, LVSI and lymph node status were found to be statistically significant predictors of survival for the log-rank test. On the basis of multivariate analysis, the nodal status was the most significant independent prognostic factor (hazard rate [HR]: 2.06; confidence interval [CI] 95%: 1.57-12.07) followed by LVSI (HR: 3.47; CI95%: 1.85-7.85). The independent prognostic factors among the variables relative to positive nodes were the percentage of nodal replacement (HR: 6.99; CI95%: 3.51-16.14) and the extracapsular spread (HR: 4.88; CI95%: 2.96-10.14).
Conclusions: Lymph node status and nodal features, such as extracapsular spread and nodal replacement rate, were shown to be independent factors. These factors should be considered to identify high risk patients and in planning further adjuvant therapy.