Vulvar cancer: initial management and systematic review of literature on currently applied treatment approaches

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Abstract

This review provides guidelines and aims to estimate utilisation rates of treatment modalities applied in vulvar cancer. Current standards of treatment are as follows: wide local excision instead of radical vulvectomy in the case of small tumour (T < 2 cm), no lymph node dissection in the case of a micro-invasive tumour (invasion <1 mm), unilateral lymph node dissection in the case of a lateral tumour and inguinal–femoral lymphadenectomy by separate incisions instead of en bloc inguinal–femoral lymph node excision. Implementation of sentinel lymph node biopsy in patients with tumours not exceeding 4 cm is safe and efficiently eliminates redundant groin dissections. Pre-operative treatment with chemoradiotherapy reduces tumour size and improves surgical excision of inoperable primary tumours or fixed lymph nodes, but side effects are considerable. Literature search performed using PubMed database (from: 1 June 2005 to 1 June 2015) with the terms ‘consecutive’, ‘vulvar cancer’, ‘treatment’ identified seven full-text manuscripts, including data on 1114 patients. Utilisation rates of neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy, chemotherapy alone, surgery, adjuvant radiotherapy and adjuvant radiochemotherapy were 5.9%, 0.3%, 89.3%, 22.6% and 0.2% respectively. An evidence-based estimation of appropriate rates of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy for vulvar cancer is needed to compare management reflecting guidelines with presented here real frequency of applied modalities.

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