Langerhans cell histiocytosis of the female genital tract

Cancer. 1991 Mar 15;67(6):1650-60. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(19910315)67:6<1650::aid-cncr2820670629>;2-t.


Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) of the female genital tract is rare. Four new cases are reported, and there is a review of the 38 cases in the literature. This disease may involve the vulva, vagina, cervix, endometrium, and ovary. Four distinct patient groups, segregated on the basis of initial presentation and subsequent anatomic extent of disease, were categorized as follows: (1) "pure" genital LCH, (2) genital LCH with subsequent multi-organ involvement, (3) oral or cutaneous LCH with subsequent genital and multi-organ involvement, and (4) diabetes insipidus with subsequent genital and multi-organ disease. Although involvement of the genital tract can occur at any age, it is most common in young adulthood. Clinically, LCH may mimic either primary neoplasia or various inflammatory lesions; the major pathologic differential diagnosis is venereal and other inflammatory diseases. The pure genital form may have a distinct nosologic position in the spectrum of LCH similar to the "pure," self-limited cutaneous histiocytosis seen in infants. There is no correlation between histologic findings and the outcome of the genital lesions. There is also no correlation between clinical presentation and/or the extent of involvement and outcome of genital lesions; complete regression, partial improvement, persistent lesions, and recurrences were seen in all four groups of patients. The treatment of genital LCH is not well defined and is highly individualized. Therapy has included surgery, radiation, topical corticosteroids, topical nitrogen mustard, systemic chemotherapy, and combination therapy; mixed results were obtained with all treatment modalities. Although no modality has been shown to yield a superior outcome, complete surgical excision is advocated as initial therapy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / diagnosis*
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / genetics
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / pathology
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / therapy
  • Histiocytosis, Langerhans-Cell / diagnosis*
  • Histiocytosis, Langerhans-Cell / genetics
  • Histiocytosis, Langerhans-Cell / pathology
  • Histiocytosis, Langerhans-Cell / therapy
  • Humans
  • Phenotype