Objectives. The SLN-procedure has been introduced in vulvar cancer treatment to reduce morbidity and thereby improve quality of life. Aim of this study was to compare quality of life in vulvar cancer patients who were treated with a SLN-procedure only to those who underwent inguinofemoral lymphadenectomy. Moreover, it was evaluated what patients would advise relatives on the application of the SLN-procedure in light of possible false negative results.
Methods. Patients who participated in the GROningen INternational Study on Sentinel nodes in Vulvar cancer (GROINSS-V) were invited to fill out three questionnaires: the EORTC QLQ-C30, a vulvar specific questionnaire and a questionnaire about the opinion of patients on new treatment options. Patients who only underwent SLN-procedure were compared to those who subsequently underwent inguinofemoral lymphadenectomy because of a positive SLN.
Results. With a response rate of 85%, 35 patients after the SLN-procedure and 27 patients after inguinofemoral lymphadenectomy filled Out the questionnaires. No difference in overall quality of life was observed between the two groups. The major difference was the increase in complaints of lymphedema of the legs after inguinofemoral lymphadenectomy. The majority of patients would advise the SLN-procedure to relatives. Patients after inguinofemoral lymphadenectomy were more reserved concerning the acceptable false negative rate of a new diagnostic procedure.
Conclusions. Patients who underwent the SLN-procedure report less treatment related morbidity compared to those who underwent inguinofemoral lymphadenectomy. However, this did not influence overall quality of life. Furthermore, patients who underwent inguinofemoral lymphadenectomy are more reserved in advising the SLN-procedure to relatives. (C) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.