Preoperative intensity-modulated radiotherapy and chemotherapy for locally advanced vulvar carcinoma

Gynecol Oncol. 2008 May;109(2):291-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2007.10.026.


Objective: Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is a rapidly maturing technology that allows delivery of radiation dose in a more conformal manner by varying the radiation beams spatially or temporally. The purpose of the study was to assess the clinical outcome in patients with locally-advanced vulvar cancers treated using preoperative chemotherapy with IMRT.

Methods: Eighteen patients with stage II-IVA cancer were treated with a modified GOG schema using 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and cisplatin with twice-daily (BID) IMRT during the first and last weeks of treatment. Surgery was planned for 6-8 weeks post-treatment.

Results: The median follow-up time was 22 months (2-60 months). Fourteen patients had surgery performed with pathological complete response (pCR) in 9 (64%) patients and partial response (pPR) in 5 patients. There were no recurrences in the 9 patients who achieved pCR whereas 3/5 with pPR had local recurrence (p=0.027). Four patients did not have surgery: one patient died a week after treatment while 2 of the remaining 3 patients had local recurrences. Acute desquamative skin reactions in the vulva and perineum were seen in all patients. Three of the 14 patients who had surgery had prolonged wound complications requiring debridement. No patients had radiation-related acute or late toxicity of grade = 3. The 2-year cause specific and overall survivals were 75% and 70% respectively.

Conclusion: Preoperative chemotherapy and IMRT were well tolerated with good clinical response and early clinical outcome. Pathological complete response predicts better outcomes. Prospective clinical trials with sufficient patient numbers and follow-up are needed to determine the true impact of IMRT in these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Carcinoma / radiotherapy*
  • Carcinoma / surgery
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant / methods
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Preoperative Care*
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / pathology
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / surgery*


  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cisplatin
  • Fluorouracil