The role of preoperative computerized tomography (CT) scan of the pelvis and groin in the management of clinically early staged vulva squamous cell carcinoma

Rachel Pounds, Danielle O'Neill, Kamana Subba, Akanksha Garg, Miski Scerif, Elizabeth Leong, James Nevin, Sean Kehoe, Jason Yap

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1 Citation (Scopus)


INTRODUCTION: Vulvar squamous cell carcinoma (VSCC) commonly metastasises through groin lymphatics. However, the use of pre-operative imaging in detecting inguinal nodal metastasis before staging surgery or to triage patients for sentinel node biopsy remains unclear. Here, we investigated if pre-operative CT scan, the imaging choice in our cancer centre, influences the overall course of VSCC management in those patients without clinical evidence of groin lymphadenopathy.

METHOD: The study comprised of a prospective cohort of 225 patients with VSCC who underwent staging surgery within a regional tertiary gynaecological cancer centre. Comprehensive information of the cohort's demography, clinicopathological variables and outcome data were collected and analysed. Findings of pre-operative imaging were compared with histological findings of inguinal lymph nodes following groin lymphadenectomy. Statistical analyses were performed using SPSS V24.

RESULTS: Pre-operative CT scan was performed on 116 (56.6%) patients. The sensitivity and specificity of cross-sectional imaging in detecting groin lymphatic metastasis were 59.1% and 77.8%, respectively; while the positive (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) were 61.9% and 75.7%, respectively. In patients who had sentinel inguinal nodes biopsy, the sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV of CT scan in detecting inguinal node metastasis were 30.0%, 85.7%, 33.3% and 83.7%, respectively. There was no difference in disease-free and overall survival in those who received pre-operative imaging when compared to those who did not.

CONCLUSION: Pre-operative CT scan may be omitted in early stage VSCC prior to surgical staging as it does not affect overall management and surgical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-449
Number of pages6
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell/diagnostic imaging
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Groin
  • Humans
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Lymph Nodes/diagnostic imaging
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Pelvis
  • Preoperative Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
  • Survival Rate
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Vulvar Neoplasms/diagnostic imaging


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