Objective: In 2008 GROINSS-V-I, the largest validation trial on the sentinel node (SN) procedure in vulvar cancer, showed that application of the SN-procedure in patients with early-stage vulvar cancer is safe. The current study aimed to evaluate long-term follow-up of these patients regarding recurrences and survival.
Methods: From 2000 until 2006 GROINSS-V-I included 377 patients with unifocal squamous cell carcinoma of the vulva (T1, <4 cm), who underwent the SN-procedure. Only in case of SN metastases an inguinofemoral lymphadenectomy was performed. For the present study follow-up was completed until March 2015.
Results: Themedian follow-up was 105 months (range 0–179). The overall local recurrence ratewas 27.2% at 5 years and 39.5% at 10 years after primary treatment, while for SN-negative patients 24.6% and 36.4%, and for SN-positive patients 33.2% and 46.4% respectively (p = 0.03). In 39/253 SN-negative patients (15.4%) an inguinofemoral lymphadenectomy was performed, because of a local recurrence. Isolated groin recurrence rate was 2.5% for SN-negative patients and 8.0% for SN-positive patients at 5 years. Disease-specific 10-year survival was 91% for SN-negative patients compared to 65% for SN-positive patients (p b .0001). For all patients, 10-year disease-specific survival decreased from 90% for patients without to 69% for patients with a local recurrence (p b .0001).
Keywords: Long-term follow-up; Sentinel node; Vulvar cancer.