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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2015 June;150(3):277-82


language: English

Vulvar melanoma: a 33 years single Italian center experience

Catalano C. 1, De Magnis A. 1, Kanninen T. 2, Sisti G. 1, Sisti A. 3, Sorbi F. 1, Turrini I. 1, Pimpinelli N. 4, Fambrini M. 1

1 Department of Biomedical, Clinical and Experimental Sciences, University of Florence, Florence, Italy; 2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy; 3 General and Specialist Surgery Department, Plastic Surgery Division, University of Siena, Siena, Italy; 4 Section of Dermatology, Department of Surgery and Translational Medicine, Division of Dermatology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy


AIM: Vulvar melanoma is a rare disease with a poor prognosis. The purpose of this study was to report our experience on vulvar melanoma.
METHODS: This is a retrospective study on patients with primary melanoma of the vulva admitted to our hospital during the last 33 years. Clinical characteristics, surgical therapy and follow-up are reported. Patients were classified following the 2009 edition of the melanoma staging system.
RESULTS: The predominant symptom was pain; five patients reported ulceration and one patient presented bleeding from the vulvar lesions. The average age at diagnosis was 61.4 years. Surgical treatment was performed: radical vulvectomy in five cases, emivulvectomy in three cases, large regional excision in one case. Average time to follow-up was 50.2 months. In four cases (44.4%), regional recurrence occurred and the patients died as a result of the tumor; one patient died of other causes; four patients were still alive at the time of the study.
CONCLUSION: Current treatment protocols have moved towards less aggressive treatment in view of the current available evidence. Sentinel lymph node biopsy and adjuvant therapy are still under debate. Our study confirms the overall poor prognosis for vulvar melanoma.

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