Assessment of recurrence rate and risk factors of relapse in stage in IA vulvar carcinoma

Julie L Schleiss-Andreassen, Elisabeth Kristensen, Ligita Paskeviciute Frøding, Estrid Stæhr, Claus Høgdall, Anne Pernille Christiansen, Estrid Høgdall, Tine Henrichsen Schnack*

*Corresponding author for this work
1 Citation (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate recurrence rates and risk factors of relapse in stage IA vulvar squamous cell carcinoma (VSCC) patients.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Population-based prospectively collected data on stage IA VSCC was retrieved through the Danish Gynecological Cancer Database (DGCD) during 2011-2017. A central pathology review was performed on tumors from women with recurrent disease.

RESULTS: 62 women diagnosed and treated for stage IA VSCC were identified. Nine (14.5%) of the included cases relapsed within the observation period. The recurrences were in the vulva, groins or both in 5 (8.1%), 3 (4.8%) and 1 (1.6%) of the women, respectively. At central pathology review, including all recurrent cases (n = 9), 5 out of 21 reviewed patients were upstaged to stage IB due to depth of invasion >1 mm and two were downstaged to Carcinoma in situ. Two of the upstaged women developed an isolated groin recurrence and one an isolated vulvar relapse. After exclusion of the seven cases the overall recurrence rate decreased to 10.9% (n = 6). Among these cases (n = 55) resection margin <8 mm and tumor size were associated with cancer recurrence.

CONCLUSION: Pathological assessment of stage IA VSCC (depth of invasion ≤1 mm) may be difficult. This may result in under-staging, which impact the choice of treatment and possibly the prognosis. This suggests a need for further clarification of the FIGO measurement and may require a more radical approach when it comes to treatment and groin exploration in stage IA VSCC. Resection margins <8 mm and tumor size were associated with relapse of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)543-549
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Interobserver agreement
  • Invasion depth
  • Recurrence
  • Stage IA
  • Vulvar squamous cell carcinoma


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