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Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Volume 50, n° 4
pages 554-562 (avril 2004)
Doi : 10.1016/j.jaad.2003.07.026
accepted : 2 July 2003
Vulvar melanoma: a report of 20 cases and review of the literature
 

Mary Ellen Wechter, MD a, Stephen B Gruber, MD, PhD f, Hope K Haefner, MD a, Lori Lowe, MD b, e, Jennifer L Schwartz, MD b, Kevin R Reynolds, MD a, Carolyn M Johnston, MD a, Timothy M Johnson, MD b, c, d,
a Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan Health System, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA 
b Department of Derma- tology, University of Michigan Health System, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA 
c Department of Otolaryngology, University of Michigan Health System, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA 
d Department of Surgery, University of Michigan Health System, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA 
e Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Health System, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA 
f Department of Internal Medicine and Epidemiology, University of Michigan Health System, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA 

*Reprints not available from authors. Correspondence to: Timothy M. Johnson, MD, University of Michigan Health System, 1910 Taubman Ctr, 1500 E Medical Center Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0314, USA.
Abstract
Background

Vulvar melanoma is the second most common vulvar malignancy and represents a significant women's health issue.

Objective

To report experience with 21 cases of vulvar melanoma in 20 patients and to review the literature about the condition.

Methods

Parameters retrospectively reviewed included age at diagnosis, family history of melanoma, location on the vulva, atypical nevi, Breslow depth, ulceration status, histologic pattern, presenting signs and symptoms, and the results of sentinel lymph node biopsy. Molecular characterization of the melanocortin type 1 receptor was performed in 1 patient.

Results

A family history of cutaneous melanoma was present in 15% of cases. The mean Breslow depth was 2.8 mm (range, 0.0-11.0 mm). Ten patients successfully underwent sentinel lymph node biopsy, results of which were positive in 2 (20%). Reported for the first time is that one patient had a germline mutation in the melanocortin type 1 receptor.

Conclusion

Vulvar and cutaneous melanoma behave similarly despite their unique pathogeneses. Sentinel lymph node biopsy can be performed successfully for vulvar melanoma.

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.

 Funding source: Partially supported by grant UO1 CA83180 from the National Institutes of Health.
Conflict of interest: None identified.



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