The relevance of various vulvar epithelial changes in the early detection of squamous cell carcinoma of the vulva


Dr. M.J. Kagie Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, westeinde Hospital, PO Box 432, 2501 CK The Hague, The Netherlands.


The objective of this study is to evaluate the possible relevance of vulvar epithelial changes as a risk factor for squamous cell carcinoma of the vulva. The data of 66 women surgically treated for squamous cell carcinoma of the vulva have been analyzed. More than 6500 slides from the resection specimens were revised with special emphasis on concurrent epithelial changes. Synchronous epithelial changes were seen in 63 patients. Thirty-nine patients had synchronous vulvar intra-epithelial neoplasia grade 1 (VIN I), 10 VIN II and 13 VIN III. Thirty-one patients had synchronous lichen sclerosus and 49 squamous cell hyperplasia. The difference between the percentage of patients with epithelial changes diagnosed preceding their carcinoma (30%) and the percentage of patients that had synchronous epithelial changes after reviewing the specimen (95%) was striking. It was concluded that more careful diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of these conditions might lead to an earlier recognition of squamous cell carcinoma of the vulva and therefore to a better prognosis.