Objective: To study patterns of recurrence, to evaluate pathologic features correlating with recurrence, and to estimate the prognostic implications for each different pattern of recurrence in the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stages I and II squamous cell vulvar cancer.
Methods: This was a retrospective study of 121 cases of vulvar cancer managed at our institution from 1987 to 2005. Time to recurrence, sites of local and distant recurrence, and the type of surgery were recorded. Relapse-free and overall survival were calculated.
Results: There was no difference in recurrence rates, time to recurrence, or survival between patients with FIGO stages I or II disease. The 5-year actuarial survival (corrected for competing risks) for stage I disease was 97% compared with 95% for stage II (P=.83). Progression-free survival at 5 years was 86% for stage I and 94% for stage II.In this study, 95.9% of patients were treated with vulvar-conserving surgery without detriment with respect to recurrence or survival.
Conclusion: Vulvar-conserving surgery, even for large tumors, results in excellent outcomes. Vulvar recurrences have an excellent prognosis, but primary site and remote site vulvar recurrences are biologically different. There is no justification for the FIGO differentiation of node-negative cancers confined to the vulva on the basis of tumor size.
Level of evidence: III.