Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Prognostic Value of Bilateral Positive Nodes in Squamous Cell Cancer of the Vulva
  1. Guus Fons, MD*,
  2. Simon E. Hyde, MD,
  3. Marrije R. Buist, MD, PhD*,
  4. Marten S. Schilthuis, MD, PhD*,
  5. Peter Grant, MD, PhD,
  6. Matthé P.M. Burger, MD, PhD* and
  7. Jacobus Van Der Velden, MD, PhD*
  1. *Department of Gynaecologic Oncology, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and
  2. Department of Gynaecologic Oncology, Mercy Hospital for Women, Melbourne, Australia.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Guus Fons, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Academic Medical Centre, Meibergdreef 9, 1100DD Amsterdam, the Netherlands. E-mail: g.fons{at}


Objectives: The aim of the current study was, first, to determine whether laterality of lymph node metastases has prognostic significance, independent of the number of lymph node metastases. Second was to determine the prognostic significance of extracapsular spread irrespective of the number of lymph node metastases.

Methods: Data on 134 patients with stage III/IVA vulva cancer from 1982 till 2004 and treated with curative intent in either the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam or the Mercy Hospital for Women in Melbourne were reviewed. The impact of the number of lymph node metastases, extracapsular spread, and bilateral existence of lymph node metastases on survival was determined.

Results: The bilateral presence of lymph node metastases is not a significant predictor for survival if a correction is made for the number of lymph node metastases (hazards ratio, 1.31; 95% confidence interval, 0.68-2.51; P = 0.420). If extracapsular spread is put into the model as well, this is the only parameter of prognostic significance in multivariate analysis (hazards ratio, 5.27; 95% confidence interval, 2.60-10.67; P < 0.001). The five-year survival of patients with extracapsular spread is only 31%, which is considerably lower than the 80% survival of patients with only intracapsular metastases.

Conclusions: In conclusion, there is growing evidence that bilateral existence of lymph node metastases is not a sufficient variable to qualify stage. Extracapsular spread, however, seems to be the most valuable lymph node-associated prognostic factor for survival.

  • Vulvar cancer
  • Lymph node metastases
  • Prognosis
  • Extracapsular spread

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.