Vulvar cancer: a review for dermatologists

Wien Med Wochenschr. 2015 Apr;165(7-8):164-77. doi: 10.1007/s10354-015-0354-9. Epub 2015 May 1.


Vulvar malignancies are important tumors of the female reproductive system. They represent a serious health issue with an incidence between 2 and 7 per 100,000 and year. We provide a review about most important cancer entities, i.e., melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, neuroendocrine cancer, and skin adnexal malignancies.Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common vulvar malignancy that can develop from vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia or de novo. Basal cell carcinoma represents only 2% of all vulvar cancers. Melanoma of the vulva exists in two major types-superficial spreading and acral lentiginous. A special feature is the occurrence of multiple vulvar melanomas. Of the adnexal cancer types Paget's disease and carcinoma are seen more frequently than other adnexal malignancies. The dermatologist should be aware of this problem, since he might be the first to be consulted by patients for vulvar disease. Treatment should be interdisciplinary in close association to gynecologists, oncologists, and radiologists.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma in Situ / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neoplasms, Adnexal and Skin Appendage / pathology
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / pathology
  • Paget Disease, Extramammary / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Vulva / pathology
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / pathology*