, Volume 7, Issue 10, pp 738-742

Prognostic Indicators in Melanoma of the Vulva

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Background: The aim of this study was to evaluate the prognostic significance of clinicalpathologic variables in melanoma of the vulva.

Methods: From 1979 through 1995, 40 women with a diagnosis of vulvar melanoma underwent radical surgery. Patient age, tumor size and site, histologic type, ulceration, tumor thickness, lymph node status, and number of positive lymph nodes were assessed for prognostic significance by multivariate analysis.

Results: Tumor thickness was a significant predictor of lymph node involvement, but not of survival. The most powerful predictors of survival by multivariate analysis were the lymph node status (P 5 .002) and the number of positive lymph nodes (P 5 .00003).

Conclusions: The number of positive lymph nodes represents the strongest prognostic factor in melanoma of the vulva. Because of the lack of effective adjuvant therapies, such prognostic indicators might be used to define the timing and extent of the surgical approach.