Background: Vulvar squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) originates the following two pathways, related to differentiated (d) vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN) or to human papillomavirus (HPV)-related usual (u) VIN. Multicentric HPV infections (cervix, vagina and vulva) are common. We hypothesise that patients with a uVIN-related vulvar SCC more often have cervical high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSILs) compared with women with dVIN-related vulvar SCC.
Methods: All vulvar SCCs (201) were classified to be dVIN- (n=164) or uVIN related (n=37). Data with regard to the smear history and cervical histology were retrieved from PALGA, the nationwide Netherlands database of histo- and cytopathology. For HSIL cervical smears of which histology was taken, HPV DNA analysis on both the vulvar and cervical specimens was performed.
Results: At least one smear was available in 145 (72%) of the 201 patients. Patients with a uVIN-related vulvar SCC more often had an HSIL compared with patients with a dVIN-related SCC (35 vs 2%, P<0.001). A total of 10 of the 13 HSILs were histologically assessed and identical HPV types were found in the vulva and cervix.
Conclusion: These data emphasise the necessity to differentiate between dVIN- and uVIN-related vulvar tumours and to examine the entire lower female ano-genital tract once an uVIN-related lesion is found.