Background and purpose: Inguinal lymph node involvement is considered the most important prognostic risk factor for survival in vulvar cancer. However, controversy exists concerning the optimal adjuvant therapy for node-positive disease. This study sought to identify the optimal adjuvant therapy for each subset of women with node-positive disease.
Material and methods: The National Cancer Database (NCDB) was queried to identify women with inguinal node positive vulvar cancer. Survival analysis was performed using log-rank test, the Kaplan-Meier estimates, and Cox proportional hazards to both clarify prognosis and identify the benefit of each treatment modality in individual subsets of women.
Results: A total of 2779 women with inguinal node positive vulvar cancer were identified. On multivariate Cox model hazard ratio, radiotherapy yielded a survival advantage for women with one positive node (HR 0.81, p = 0.027) and two or more positive nodes (HR = 0.59, p < 0.001). The addition of chemotherapy to radiotherapy yielded an incremental improvement in survival for women with 2 or more positive nodes (HR = 0.79, p = 0.022) but not women with 1 positive node (HR = 0.93, p = 0.605).
Conclusions: All patients with node positive disease benefited from radiotherapy. By contrast, only those with 2 or more positive nodes benefited from the addition of chemotherapy to radiotherapy.
Keywords: Adjuvant therapy; Chemotherapy; NCDB; Node positive; Radiotherapy; Vulvar cancer.
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