Definitive radiotherapy for recurrent vulvar carcinoma after primary surgery: a two-institutional Italian experience

Tumori. 2019 Jun;105(3):225-230. doi: 10.1177/0300891618811279. Epub 2019 Feb 21.


Objective: To assess the clinical outcome of patients treated with radiotherapy (RT) for recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the vulva after primary surgery.

Methods: Fifty-six patients developed recurrent disease after surgery, consisting of deep total vulvectomy with inguino-femoral lymphadenectomy in 44 (78.6%) and deep partial vulvectomy with inguino-femoral lymphadenectomy in 12 (21.4%). All patients underwent RT at the Divisions of Radiotherapy, University of Pisa and ASST Cremona, between 1992 and 2016. Forty-three patients (76.8%) underwent external beam RT and 13 (23.2%) were treated with exclusive high-dose rate brachytherapy.

Results: Five-year progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 19% and 43%, respectively. Primary tumor size ⩽4 cm, early FIGO stage, and negative lymph node status were significantly associated with better PFS (p = .005, p = .020 and p = .036, respectively) and OS (p < .0001, p = .023 and p = .008, respectively). Patients with more than 1 positive lymph node at primary surgery had significantly worse PFS (p = .028) and OS (p = .001). Patients with local recurrence had significantly better PFS and OS (p = .022, p = .002, respectively). RT total dose >54 Gy was associated with a lower risk of recurrence.

Conclusions: Primary tumor size, FIGO stage, nodal status, and site of recurrent disease were significant predictors of clinical outcome in patients treated with RT for recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the vulva.

Keywords: Radiotherapy; brachytherapy; external radiotherapy; recurrence; surgery; vulvar carcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brachytherapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / radiotherapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / radiotherapy*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / pathology
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / surgery