Carcinoma in situ of the vulva: 24 years' experience in southwest Florida

South Med J. 1988 May;81(5):589-93. doi: 10.1097/00007611-198805000-00012.


We retrospectively studied 125 patients treated for carcinoma in situ of the vulva from 1961 through 1984, with follow-up ranging from one to 24 years. Patients' ages ranged from 24 to 90 years, with a mean age of 53 years. Multifocal disease was more common in women under age 40. Pruritus was the most common complaint, but 60% of the patients were asymptomatic. Twenty-five patients (20%) had other associated malignancies: carcinoma in situ of the cervix in ten patients, invasive carcinoma of the cervix in six, multifocal carcinoma in situ involving vulva, vagina, and cervix in five, vaginal carcinoma in situ in two, and endometrial carcinoma in two. Sixty-five patients were treated primarily with wide excision, 45 with total vulvectomy, seven with "subtotal" vulvectomy, three with skinning vulvectomy, and three with vulvectomy and bilateral groin node dissection; two patients refused treatment. Fifteen patients had a recurrence--recurrent carcinoma in situ in ten, and invasive carcinoma of the vulva in five. Whether the patient had had total vulvectomy or a lesser procedure appeared to make no difference in the recurrence rate. Thus a well planned excision of vulvar carcinoma in situ appears to be the treatment of choice. All recurrences were in patients over age 40, so although the lesion is histopathologically identical in the younger patients, its biologic behavior seems to be more benign. Since it is possible, however, that invasive disease will ultimately develop in some of the younger patients, careful follow-up is still required.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma in Situ* / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma in Situ* / pathology
  • Carcinoma in Situ* / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vulvar Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Vulvar Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Vulvar Neoplasms* / surgery