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Gynecol Oncol. 2001 Jun;81(3):414-9.

Prognostic significance of epithelial disorders adjacent to invasive vulvar carcinomas.

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  • 1Department of Gynecologic Surgery, Institut Gustave Roussy, 39 rue Camille Desmoulins, Villejuif Cedex, 94805, France.



Epithelial disorders are found adjacent to vulvar carcinoma in 70-80% of patients. Epithelial disorder may be human papillomavirus related [undifferentiated high-grade vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN III)] or not [vulvar lichen sclerosus and squamous cell hyperplasia with or without atypia (differentiated VIN III)]. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of associated epithelial disorders on the outcome of patients with cancer of the vulva.


A retrospective study about 108 patients treated for a squamous cell carcinoma of the vulva was performed. Clinical, surgical, histopathologic, and follow-up data were collected and analyzed.


Seventy-seven patients had an epithelial alteration adjacent to the invasive squamous carcinoma. Squamous cell hyperplasia and lichen sclerosus were identified in 48% (n = 52) and undifferentiated VIN III in 23% (n = 25). The 5-year disease-free and overall survival rates were 39 and 55%, respectively. In univariate analysis, age <70, a tumor size <2 cm, depth of invasion < or =1 mm, tumor thickness < or =5 mm, negative lymph node pathology, lymph node resection, and undifferentiated VIN III were predictive of survival. Using Cox's proportional hazards method, undifferentiated VIN III (P = 0.02), depth of invasion < or =1 mm (P < 0.01), and a pathological negative node status (P < 0.01) were independent predictors of survival. Patients without associated epithelial alterations had clinical and prognostic features comparable to those of patients with vulvar lichen sclerosus and squamous cell hyperplasia.


The results of this study support the view that histological evidence of epithelial alterations adjacent to invasive carcinoma can serve to separate patients that differ in terms of prognosis.

Copyright 2001 Academic Press.

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