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Prognostic significance of perineural invasion in vulvar squamous cell carcinoma

Authors Long Y, Yao DS, Wei YS, Wei CH, Chen XY

Received 23 December 2018

Accepted for publication 10 April 2019

Published 14 May 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 4461—4469

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CMAR.S198047

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Antonella D'Anneo


Ying Long,1,* De-Sheng Yao,1 You-Sheng Wei,1,* Chang-Hong Wei,2 Xiao-Yu Chen2

1Department of Gynecologic Oncology, Affiliated Tumor Hospital of Guang Xi Medical University, Nanning, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Pathology, Affiliated Tumor Hospital of Guang Xi Medical University, Nanning, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: Perineural invasion (PNI) is closely associated with poor survival in several types of malignant tumours, but whether this is true in vulvar squamous cell carcinoma (VSCC) is unclear. The aims of this study were to determine the prognostic significance of PNI in patients with VSCC.
Patients and methods: We retrospectively analysed clinico-pathological data on 105 patients with VSCC (stages IB-IV) treated surgically at our medical center between 2005 and 2015.
Results: PNI was detected in 30 (28.6%) patients, and it was significantly associated with well-known clinical risk factors: large tumour size, depth of invasion, lymphatic vascular space invasion (LVSI), and intra- or extra-nodal spread. Significantly greater proportions of patients with PNI received adjuvant therapy after surgery (P=0.001) or showed local recurrence (P=0.002). Multivariable analysis indicated that risk factors for disease-free survival were tumour size (HR 3.02, 95%CI 1.75–7.75), LVSI (HR 4.82, 95%CI 1.36–17.07), depth of invasion (HR 3.11, 95%CI 1.50–6.44), lymph node metastasis (HR 3.15, 95%CI 1.14–8.96) and positive or close surgical margins (HR 4.86, 95%CI 1.67–14.19). The latter three variables were also risk factors for overall survival. PNI was associated with significantly shorter disease-free survival (DFS) (P=0.020) and overall survival (OS) (P=0.017) based on the log-rank test. Among patients who received adjuvant treatment, Kaplan-Meier curves indicated no significant differences between PNI-positive or -negative subgroups in disease-free survival (P=0.085) or overall survival (P=0.061). Based on multivariable analysis of all patients, PNI was not a significant risk factor for either type of survival .
Conclusion: PNI in VSCC is associated with significantly shorter disease-free and overall survival, though it appears to be a weak independent predictor of worse prognosis. Combining PNI with other risk factors may be useful for predicting whether postoperative adjuvant therapy will be needed.

Keywords: Perineural invasion, vulvar squamous cell carcinoma, adjuvant therapy, prognostic significance

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