Vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia--the need for auditable measures of management

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2008 Mar;137(1):97-102. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2007.02.009. Epub 2007 Mar 26.


Objectives: Surgical excision is currently the standard treatment for vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN). To date it has proved difficult to evaluate the management of VIN in reported series due to heterogeneity in datasets. The objective of this study was to justify standardised data presentation to permit comparison between series and facilitate determination of an optimal strategy for management of VIN. We propose auditable indicators of performance to benchmark management and outcomes. This may also enable definition of a surgical control arm for future novel therapy studies.

Study design: Data from the Northern Gynaecological Oncology Centre (NGOC), UK on women with proven VIN diagnosed between 1989 and 2004 who attended the vulvar review clinic are presented and analysed alongside three large retrospective series by Jones et al. [Jones RW, Rowan DM, Stewart AW. Vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia: aspects of the natural history and outcome in 405 women. Obstet Gynecol 2005;106(6):1319-26], Herod et al. [Herod JJ, Shafi MI, Rollason TP, Jordan JA, Luesley DM. Vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia: long term follow up of treated and untreated women. Br J Obstet Gynaecol 1996;103(5):446-52], McNally et al. [McNally OM, Mulvany NJ, Pagano R, Quinn MA, Rome RM. VIN 3: a clinicopathologic review. Int J Gynecol Cancer 2002;12(5):490-5] against proposed performance indicators to illustrate the deficiencies in current data presentation.

Results: Demographics and indicators such as degree of pathological expertise, definition of early stromal invasion and use of International Society for the study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD) classification were usually well documented. The description of lesions including size and focality were not always documented, nor the proportion examined by co-specialists. Numbers of primary treatments were well described but the indications for treatment, completeness of excision and VIN subclassification were not. Subsequent surgical treatments were inconsistently reported including the pathological details and intervals between treatments. Symptomatology was not well reported. Information on follow-up intervals and duration of follow-up with an indication of patient compliance was inadequate. Outcome data on recurrence of VIN and progression to carcinoma (early stromal invasion or frankly invasive carcinoma) were included in all series.

Conclusions: Consensus on the ideal management of VIN or evaluation of new strategies will prove impossible without standardised data presentation. We propose a number of performance indicators that will facilitate evaluation of future studies or series against the current benchmark of surgical treatment for VIN.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Benchmarking / standards*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Medical Audit / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / standards*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / surgery*