Author(s): Lotem M, Anteby S, Peretz T, Ingber A, Avinoach I
OBJECTIVE: This is a retrospective analysis of malignant melanoma of the female genital tract, focusing on the high local recurrence rate of this tumor.
METHODS: All women treated for malignant melanoma of the genital tract were identified through the archives of the Hadassah University Hospital. The medical records and the pathological specimens were reviewed and reevaluated.
RESULTS: From 1986 to 2002, nine cases were diagnosed and treated at Hadassah. Seven had vulvar melanoma and two had vaginal melanoma. Sixty-six percent (6/9) of the patients had more than one focus of melanoma, either apparent at their initial diagnosis (3/9) or developed during follow up (3/9). Most of the recurring lesions were melanoma in situ. In one patient multiple nodular melanomas were detected. Atypical melanocytic hyperplasia was found in an otherwise normal mucosa in four patients. Three had experienced multiple recurrences. All patients were treated by radical local excisions with (3/9) or without (6/9) elective groin lymph node dissection. Three patients with locally recurring melanoma within the genital tract required two to five sessions of repeated surgical excisions.
CONCLUSION: It is suggested that melanoma of the genital tract is the result of a multifocal disorder of the melanocytes within the mucosa. The increased local recurrence rate reflects an inherent abnormality of melanocytes. It is not attributed to surgical failure in controlling the disease. Insistent and even radical surgical excision is recommended, especially for patients whose prospects for prolonged survival are improved.Gynecology & Obstetrics