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Neoadjuvant chemotherapy with bevacizumab for locally advanced vulvar cancer.

OBJECTIVES: External beam radiation with sensitizing platinum is the recommended therapy for locally advanced vulvar cancers not amenable to curative surgery and is associated with considerable acute and chronic side effects. Radical vulvectomy post-radiation for persistent disease is often compromised with poor wound healing. We describe clinical outcomes for patients who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy plus bevacizumab followed by radical vulvectomy for locally advanced vulvar cancer.

METHODS: We performed retrospective analyses of all patients at our institution who underwent radical vulvectomy from January 2015 to November 2023. Of 113 patients, 13 patients underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Demographics and clinicopathologic data were extracted, and descriptive statistical analyses were performed. Cases with neoadjuvant chemotherapy plus bevacizumab were further evaluated for response, adverse effects, and survival.

RESULTS: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy was administered to 13 patients with stage II-IV disease that involved the urethra, vagina, or anus. Lesion sizes ranged from 4 to 20 cm (median 7 cm). Patients received 2-6 cycles of carboplatin or cisplatin, paclitaxel, and bevacizumab. Nine (69.2%) patients had partial pathologic responses, and four patients had complete responses. All patients had negative surgical margins. Ten (76.9%) patients had radiographic evidence of inguinal lymph node metastasis prior to neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and four had residual nodal disease. Only one patient developed a superficial groin seroma. Three patients developed recurrence, two locally and one distant, and there was one death. The median follow-up was 23 months (range 6-84 months).

CONCLUSIONS: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy using combination platinum/paclitaxel/bevacizumab was efficacious for locally advanced vulvar cancer, resulting in complete resections, negative margins, and excellent wound healing. A multi-institutional phase II trial is warranted to validate these findings.

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