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J Gynecol Oncol. 2013 Jul;24(3):236-41. doi: 10.3802/jgo.2013.24.3.236. Epub 2013 Jul 4.

Disease progression and recurrence in women treated for vulvovaginal intraepithelial neoplasia.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Cantonal Hospital, Frauenfeld, Switzerland.



The malignant potential of intraepithelial neoplasia of the vulva and vagina after treatment is not well defined. Our objective was to examine risk factors for recurrence and invasive disease.


Four hundred sixty-four women with biopsy proven high-grade intraepithelial neoplasia of the vulva and vagina were identified in the electronic databases of four colposcopy clinics. Inclusion criteria were a follow-up of more than one year, no history of invasive cancer and no invasive cancer within the first year after initial treatment. We investigated the potential factors associated with recurrence and progression using a logistic regression analysis to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).


Of the 411 eligible patients, 123 patients (29.9%) recurred later than one year after initial treatment and 24 patients (5.8%) progressed to invasive disease. According to multivariate analyses, the risk factors associated with recurrence were multifocality (OR, 3.33; 95% CI, 2.02 to 5.51), immunosuppression (OR, 2.51; 95% CI, 1.09 to 5.81), excision as initial treatment (vs. laser evaporation; OR, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.11 to 2.91) and smoking (OR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.02 to 2.55). Risk factors for progression to invasive disease were immunosuppression (OR, 4.00; 95% CI, 1.30 to 12.25), multifocality (OR, 3.05; 95% CI, 1.25 to 7.43) and smoking (OR, 2.97; 95% CI, 1.16 to 7.60), but not treatment modality.


Laser evaporation combined with extensive biopsy is at least as efficacious as initial treatment of intraepithelial neoplasia with excision. Smoking is a risk factor for both recurrence and progression to invasive disease. Hence, smoking cessation should be advised and maintaining a long follow-up period due to late relapses is necessary.


Cancer; Intraepithelial neoplasia; Laser evaporation; Vagina; Vulva

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