Five cases of primary vaginal melanoma were treated at UCLA Medical Center between 1976 and 1986. Two additional cases of melanoma arising at the junction of the vulva and vagina are presented. One of seven (13%) patients is alive, with a median time to recurrence of 7 months, and median survival of 31 months. Four of five vaginal melanomas were located in the distal vagina, and all were advanced at diagnosis (greater than 3 mm depth). Mean size was 3 cm. Initial therapy was local excision in four patients and radical surgery in three. All patients had suboptimal surgical margins: two vaginal primaries had positive margins after local excision, both recurred vaginally within 5 months. Two patients had margins less than 1 mm, one died of distant metastases, the other is alive with disease 30 months after radical distal vaginectomy and hemivulvectomy with post-op pelvic radiotherapy. Three patients had melanoma in situ at the surgical margins, and each had pelvic recurrences between 6 and 26 months. Five of seven cases developed local recurrence as the initial site of treatment failure. All five vaginal cases ultimately developed distant disease, but only two patients had distant disease without local-regional recurrence. Chemotherapy and immunotherapy enabled disease stabilization in three patients. The vulvovaginal junction at the introitus is a high risk site for vaginal and vulvar melanoma. Intraoperative management requires assessment of lateral and deep spread of invasive and in situ melanoma.
View details for Web of Science ID A1989T995600011
View details for PubMedID 2649420