Melanomas of the vulva and vagina

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Abstract

Melanomas of the vulva and vagina comprise < 2% of melanomas in women. Although their biologic behavior appears to be similar to that of cutaneous melanoma, vulvar and vaginal melanomas appear to have a different etiology. Women presenting with pigmented vulvar lesions should undergo expedited examination and full-thickness biopsy. Vulvar and vaginal melanomas should be staged surgically using the AJCC system, which incorporates Breslow and Clark microstaging. Adverse prognostic factors include advanced age at diagnosis, central location of tumor, capillary lymphatic space involvement, ulceration, high mitotic rate, and aneuploidy. Primary surgery should include radical local excision with 1-cm skin margins for melanomas < 1 mm thick and 2-cm margins for melanomas 1 to 4 mm thick. Deep margins should be at least 1 to 2 cm. Femoral inguinal lymphadenectomy should be performed in patients at increased risk of lymph node metastases on the basis of primary tumor characteristics. Adjuvant interferon-alfa appears to confer survival benefits in patients with regional nodal disease. Effective salvage therapy has not yet been identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1017-1023
Number of pages7
JournalONCOLOGY
Volume10
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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