According to new findings presented at the American Society of Radiation Oncology's (ASTRO) 56th annual meeting in San Francisco, California, administering chemotherapy in addition to post-surgical radiation treatment for the treatment of patients with vulvar cancer is not effective.
In the study, researchers from Magee-Womens Hospital of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, identified 1,087 women from the National Cancer Database who were diagnosed with vulvar cancer between 1998 and 2011. These women had undergone surgery to remove their tumor, but also needed radiation therapy due to the disease becoming locally advanced.
The researchers found that the combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy did not improve overall survival in patients with vulvar cancer. The findings suggest that concurrent chemotherapy and radiation should not be used in patients with vulvar cancer, but the researchers acknowledge retrospective studies like this one have limitations.
According to the American Cancer Society, vulvar cancer accounts for approximately 0.6% of all cancers in women in the United States. The organization estimates that 4,850 patients will be diagnosed with vulvar cancer in 2014, and 1,030 women will die from the disease.
The addition of chemotherapy to post-surgical radiation treatment is not effective in treating vulvar cancer, according to Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC research presented this week in San Francisco at the 56th annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).
Vulvar cancer is extremely rare, accounting for just 4 percent of gynecologic cancers and 0.6 percent of cancers women face in the U.S. each year. Led by Sushil Beriwal, M.D., associate professor with the department of radiation oncology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and radiation oncologist at Magee, this study identified patients diagnosed with vulvar cancer between 1998 and 2011 who had undergone surgery to remove the cancer and required adjuvant radiation therapy because the disease had spread to their lymph nodes.