Management of Vulvar Cancer Precursors: A Survey of the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease

J Low Genit Tract Dis. 2020 Oct;24(4):387-391. doi: 10.1097/LGT.0000000000000559.


Objective: The aim of the study was to determine how experts treat vulvar high-grade squamous intraepithelial neoplasia (VHSIL) and differentiated vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (dVIN).

Method: A 26-question survey was designed through a literature review, reviewed by the Survey Committee of the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD), and distributed to all ISSVD members via e-mail in January 2019.

Results: Overall, 90 of 441 physician members consented to participate and 78 of 90 were eligible to complete the survey. Most respondents were gynecologists (77%), followed by dermatologists (12%). Forty-five percent responded that their pathology was being reported using the 2015 ISSVD terminology of vulvar squamous intraepithelial lesions. The most common first-line treatments were as follows: unifocal VHSIL-excision (65%), multifocal VHSIL-imiquimod 5% (45%), VHSIL in a hair-bearing area-excision (69%), and clitoral disease-imiquimod 5% (47%). In the recurrent VHSIL, excision was favored (28%), followed by imiquimod 5% (26%) and laser (19%). Differentiated vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia was most often first treated with excision (82%), and more patients were referred to gynecologic oncology. Most patients were seen in follow-up at 3 months (range: 1 week-6 months). Sixty-seven respondents provided 26 different ways to follow treated patients, which were most commonly every 6 months for 2 years and then yearly (25%), followed by every 6 months indefinitely (18%).

Conclusions: Treatment of VHSIL and dVIN varies among vulvar experts with excision being the most common treatment, except in multifocal VHSIL where imiquimod is commonly used. There is wide variation in how patients are followed after treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma in Situ / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Societies, Medical
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vagina / pathology
  • Vulva / pathology
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Vulvar Neoplasms / therapy*