Patients with usual vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia-related vulvar cancer have an increased risk of cervical abnormalities

Br J Cancer. 2009 Jul 7;101(1):27-31. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605124. Epub 2009 Jun 9.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alphapapillomavirus / isolation & purification
  • Carcinoma in Situ / pathology*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / virology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / virology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Papillomavirus Infections / pathology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology*
  • Precancerous Conditions / virology
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / pathology*
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / virology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology
  • Vaginal Smears
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / virology