Pelvic organ prolapse and vaginal cancer: A systematic literature review

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2022 Nov;159(2):365-371. doi: 10.1002/ijgo.14137. Epub 2022 Feb 28.


Background: Primary vaginal cancer is a rare gynecologic malignancy. Few cases describing the concurrence of a vaginal tumor with advanced genital prolapse are reported in the literature and there is no consensus on optimal treatment.

Objectives: To investigate available evidence on presentation, treatment, and outcomes of these concurrent conditions.

Search strategy: We performed a systematic search of literature indexed on PubMed, Scopus, ISI Web of Science, and Cochrane using a combination of keywords and text words represented by "pelvic organ prolapse", "genital prolapse", and "vaginal cancer", "vaginal carcinoma".

Selection criteria: No article type restrictions were applied.

Data collection and analysis: Twenty-one studies (case reports and two small case series) were incorporated into the review process, for a total of 27 patients.

Main results: Management usually involved surgery or primary external beam radiation therapy. External beam radiation therapy was reported to be highly associated with the development of vesicovaginal fistula. A surgical approach was the treatment of choice in most cases. Exclusive interstitial brachytherapy was rarely performed.

Conclusion: A multidisciplinary approach considering risks and benefits is of the utmost importance to provide counseling and tailor treatment strategy in these complex cases.

Keywords: pelvic floor disorders; pelvic organ prolapse; pelvic reconstructive surgery; radiotherapy; systematic review; vaginal cancer.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures
  • Humans
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse* / surgery
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse* / therapy
  • Vaginal Neoplasms* / therapy