Vulvar Lichen Sclerosus and Neoplastic Transformation: A Retrospective Study of 976 Cases

Leonardo Micheletti, Mario Preti, Gianluigi Radici, Sara Boveri, Orazio Di Pumpo, Sebastiana S. Privitera, Bruno Ghiringhello, Chiara Benedetto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to estimate the neoplastic potential of vulvar lichen sclerosus (VLS). MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a retrospective study of 976 women with VLS. We recorded age at diagnosis of VLS, length of follow-up, and type of neoplasia, categorized as the following: (1) vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN), further subdivided in differentiated VIN (dVIN) and high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion; (2) superficially invasive squamous cell carcinoma; and (3) frankly invasive squamous cell carcinoma. Neoplasia incidence risk, neoplasia incidence rate, and cumulative probability of progression to neoplasia according to the Kaplan-Meier method were estimated. Log-rank test was used to compare the progression-free survival curves by age at diagnosis of VLS. RESULTS: The mean age at diagnosis of VLS was 60 (median = 60; range = 8–91) years. The mean length of follow-up was 52 (median = 21; range = 1–331) months. The following 34 patients developed a neoplasia: 8 VIN (4 dVIN, 4 high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions), 6 keratinizing superficially invasive squamous cell carcinoma (5 with adjacent dVIN), and 20 keratinizing invasive squamous cell carcinoma (1 with adjacent dVIN). The neoplasia incidence risk was 3.5%. The neoplasia incidence rate was 8.1 per 1,000 person-years. The cumulative probability of progression to neoplasia increased from 1.2% at 24 months to 36.8% at 300 months. The median progression-free survival was significantly shorter in older women (≥70 years) when compared with that in younger women (p = .003). CONCLUSIONS: Vulvar lichen sclerosus has a nonnegligible risk of neoplastic transformation and requires a careful and lifelong follow-up in all patients, particularly in elderly women. Early clinical and histological detection of preinvasive lesions is essential to reduce the risk of vulvar cancer.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Lower Genital Tract Disease
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Feb 12 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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