Primary Malignant Melanoma of the Vagina

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OBJECTIVE:To describe the clinical and pathologic features of vaginal melanoma and to determine predictors of outcome in patients with this disease.METHODS:Thirty-seven women with clinical and radiographic stage I vaginal melanoma treated at one institution between 1980 and 2009 were included in this retrospective study. Treatment modalities were assigned to one of three categories: pelvic exenteration, wide excision, and nonsurgical (primary radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or both). Overall survival and progression-free survival were calculated from the date of the surgical diagnosis.RESULTS:The median age was 60.6 years. Eighty-four percent of patients were white. Vaginal bleeding was the most common presenting symptom. Lesions were located in the distal third of the vagina in the majority (65%) of patients. Initial management included a wide local or radical excision (76% of patients); pelvic exenteration (14%); and radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy and chemotherapy (10%). At a median follow-up of 17.4 months, 33 women experienced disease recurrence. Recurrence was local only in seven patients (22%), distant only in 20 (63%), and both in five (15%). The most common sites of distant recurrence were lungs and liver. Median progression-free survival was 11.4 months, and median overall survival was 19 months. The 5-year progression-free and overall survival rates were 9.5% and 20.0%, respectively. Patients treated surgically had significantly longer survival than those treated nonsurgically (P=.01). Radiotherapy after wide excision reduced local recurrence risk and increased survival from 16.1 months to 29.4 months, although the increase was not significant (P=.46).CONCLUSION:Malignant vaginal melanoma, even when localized at presentation, has a very poor prognosis. Patients treated surgically have longer survival than those treated nonsurgically. Radiotherapy after wide excision reduces local but not distant recurrences.LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:III

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