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Experience in the Management of Patients Older Than 80 Years With Vulval Cancer
  1. Ahmed Talaat, MRCOG, MD,
  2. Dirk Brinkmann, MRCOG, MD,
  3. Yoodhvir Nagar, DNB, MD,
  4. Patrick Hogston, FRCS, FRCOG,
  5. Ghassan Khoury, FRCR, FRCP and
  6. Robert Woolas, MD, FRCS, MRCOG
  1. Department of Gynaecological Oncology, St. Mary's Hospital, Portsmouth, UK.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Ahmed Talaat, MRCOG, MD, Department of Gynaecological Oncology, St. Mary's Hospital, Milton Rd, Portsmouth, Hants, PO3 6AD, UK. E-mail: astalaat{at}


Introduction: Vulval cancer is a disease of an increasing elderly population and consequently comorbidities are common. These conditions may preclude the application of standard therapy.

Objective: To review the outcome of women with vulval cancer older than 80 years comparing those who received recommended treatment (protocol-adherent) with those who did not (protocol-violated).

Methods: A retrospective chart review of a consecutive series of patients discussed over a 6-year period at our Multidisciplinary Team meeting. Treatment was deemed protocol-adherent if the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists guidelines were followed and protocol-violated if not. Outcome data were retrieved from case notes, primary care input, cancer registry database, and reviewed in terms of survival and recurrence.

Results: Twenty-three cases of squamous cell carcinoma of the vulva were identified between 1999 and 2005 at Portsmouth Oncology Centre. Eight women were protocol-adherent and 15 women were not. Treatment decisions were made after individual discussion in conjunction with performance status. Protocol adherence was associated with a 25% recurrence rate and violation with a 53% recurrence rate. Median survival was shorter in the protocol-violated group compared with the adherent group (18 months vs 43.5 months respectively).

Conclusion: These data imply that this issue arises not infrequently, perhaps every 3 to 4 months at each gynecological oncology Multidisciplinary Team meeting in the UK. The higher recurrence rate and shorter median survival among the protocol-violated group supports the validity of the current Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists treatment guidelines in this elderly age group. A prospective scoring system should be evolved to ensure a more objective approach to such patients with considerable co-morbidities.

  • Vulval cancer
  • Elderly
  • Management

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