Predictors and Patterns of Local, Regional, and Distant Failure in Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Vulva

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To identify factors predicting for recurrence in vulvar cancer patients undergoing surgical treatment.


We retrospectively evaluated data of consecutive patients with squamous cell vulvar cancer treated between January 1, 1990 and December 31, 2013. Basic descriptive statistics and multivariable analysis were used to design predicting models influencing outcomes. Five-year disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) were analyzed using the Cox model.


The study included 101 patients affected by vulvar cancer: 64 (63%) stage I, 12 (12%) stage II, 20 (20%) stage III, and 5 (5%) stage IV. After a mean (SD) follow-up of 37.6 (22.1) months, 21 (21%) recurrences occurred. Local, regional, and distant failures were recorded in 14 (14%), 6 (6%), and 3 (3%) patients, respectively. Five-year DFS and OS were 77% and 82%, respectively. At multivariate analysis only stromal invasion >2 mm (hazard ratio: 4.9 [95% confidence interval, 1.17-21.1]; P=0.04) and extracapsular lymph node involvement (hazard ratio: 9.0 (95% confidence interval, 1.17-69.5); P=0.03) correlated with worse DFS, although no factor independently correlated with OS. Looking at factors influencing local and regional failure, we observed that stromal invasion >2 mm was the only factor predicting for local recurrence, whereas lymph node extracapsular involvement predicted for regional recurrence.


Stromal invasion >2 mm and lymph node extracapsular spread are the most important factors predicting for local and regional failure, respectively. Studies evaluating the effectiveness of adjuvant treatment in high-risk patients are warranted.

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