Recurrent squamous carcinoma of the vulva

A. Stephen Tilmans, Gregory P. Sutton, Katherine Y. Look, Frederick B. Stehman, Clarence E. Ehrlich, Ned B. Hornback

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations


Objective: This study reviews experience at Indiana University with recurrent squamous carcinoma of the vulva over an 18-year period from 1971 to 1989. The pattern of recurrence, time interval to recurrence, and efficacy of salvage therapy are evaluated in the context of the primary tumor. Study design: This is a retrospective study of 40 patients, 21 of whom underwent primary therapy for invasive squamous carcinoma of the vulva at Indiana University. Results: Vulvar recurrences were observed in 17 patients (43%), the groin was involved in 12 (30%), whereas pelvic and distant recurrences were observed in 2 (5%) and 9 (22.5%) patients, respectively. Salvage surgery and/or radiotherapy were successful in 25 patients (62.5%) alive from 1 to 144 months (median 8 months) from secondary therapy. Survival after retreatment varied significantly by site of recurrence (p = 0.002), tumor grade (p = 0.009), and interval to recurrence (p < 0.001). Best outcomes were in patients with initial stage I or II disease (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics), grade 1 tumors, local failure, and interval to relapse of > 16 months' duration. Two of 12 patients with groin recurrences were salvaged with surgery and radiotherapy. Conclusion: Long-term follow-up of patients with vulvar cancer and careful restaging at the time of recurrence are mandatory. Although local and nodal recurrences may be controlled with surgery and/or radiotherapy, regional recurrences are usually fatal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1383-1389
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992


  • recurrence
  • vulvar cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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    Tilmans, A. S., Sutton, G. P., Look, K. Y., Stehman, F. B., Ehrlich, C. E., & Hornback, N. B. (1992). Recurrent squamous carcinoma of the vulva. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 167(5), 1383-1389.