New developments in rare vulvar and vaginal cancers

Curr Opin Oncol. 2021 Sep 1;33(5):485-492. doi: 10.1097/CCO.0000000000000757.


Purpose of review: To provide the latest insight on the rare vulvar and vaginal malignancies, able to impact on clinical practice, and to outline new potential research developments.

Recent findings: Many efforts are being made to produce technical and scientific advances in the fields of vulvar and vaginal carcinoma, including imaging work-up, interventional procedures and minimally invasive surgical approach, as well as molecular profiling and identification of new target treatments.

Summary: In the evaluation of lymph node status, ultrasound has demonstrated promising results because of high predictive value, low risk and low cost. Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography is confirmed to be reliable and should be prospectively investigated for its potential applications in radiomics, whilst Fusion-US could allow a precision guidance in diagnostics and interventional procedures. Regarding interventional procedure, surgery is becoming less invasive with the aim to increase quality of life; in carefully selected patients it would be possible to overcome the current strict criteria in the use of sentinel node biopsy. Future research should focus on potential target therapy, on the basis of tumor-specific biological features.Rare cancers should be referred to experienced centers with a high case flow, able to offer a full range of diagnostic and therapeutical options and a multidisciplinary approach. Networking should be encouraged to promote research opportunities and enable data sharing and multicenter trials.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography
  • Quality of Life
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
  • Ultrasonography
  • Vaginal Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Vaginal Neoplasms* / therapy