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Treatment of advanced carcinoma of the vulva with chemoradiotherapy — can exenterative surgery be avoided?
  1. D. J. Sebag-Montefiore*,
  2. C. Mclean*,
  3. S. J. Arnott*,
  4. P. Blake,
  5. P. Van Dam,
  6. C. N. Hudson and
  7. J. H. Shepherd,§
  1. * Departments of Radiotherapy and
  2. Gynaecological Oncology, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, UK,
  3. Departments of Radiotherapy and
  4. § Gynaecological Oncology, Royal Marsden Hospital, London, UK
  1. Address for correspondence: Dr D. J. Sebag-Montefiore, Department of Radiotherapy, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London EC1A 7BE, UK.


Thirty-seven patients with advanced FIGO stage (17 stage III, 20 stage IV) carcinoma of the vulva whose extent of disease would have required extenterative surgery were treated with chemoradiotherapy (CRT). Radiotherapy was given as a split course (2500 cGy mid-plane dose in 10 daily fractions, repeated 1 month later) to the first seven patients. Subsequently radiotherapy was given as a continuous course (4500 cGy mid-plane dose in 20–25 daily fractions). Chemotherapy included mitomycin c as an intravenous bolus and 5 fluorouracil as a continuous intra-venous infusion over 4–5 days, with variations in timing and dose according to the type of radiotherapy course. Fifteen (47%) complete and 11 (34%) partial responses were seen at 3 months after completion of treatment. Of the 15 patients with complete response, 10 remained disease-free for a median of 24 months (range 6–36 months). The median sur-vival for complete and partial responding patients was 15 and 11 months, respectively (range 2–37 months). Acute toxicity included moist perineal desquamation, diarrhea and myelosupression. One death secondary to neutropaenic sepsis occurred in the split course group. WHO grade 3 radiation enteritis occurred in one patient (14%) in the split course and two patients (6%) in the continuous CRT groups. Using CRT, very high response rates have been obtained with relatively low toxicity. There is a useful role for CRT in the treatment of patients with locally advanced recurrent disease although its place in the management of extensive primary disease requires further evaluation.

  • chemotherapy
  • radiotherapy
  • vulvar neoplasm.

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