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Gynecologic tumor board: a radiologist's guide to vulvar and vaginal malignancies.


Primary vulvar and vaginal cancers are rare female genital tract malignancies which are staged using the 2009 International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) staging. These cancers account for approximately 2,700 deaths annually in the USA. The most common histologic subtype of both vulvar and vaginal cancers is squamous cell carcinoma, with an increasing role of the human papillomavirus (HPV) in a significant number of these tumors. Lymph node involvement is the hallmark of FIGO stage 3 vulvar cancer while pelvic sidewall involvement is the hallmark of FIGO stage 3 vaginal cancer. Imaging techniques include computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET)-CT, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and PET-MRI. MRI is the imaging modality of choice for preoperative clinical staging of nodal and metastatic involvement while PET-CT is helpful with assessing response to neoadjuvant treatment and for guiding patient management. Determining the pretreatment extent of disease has become more important due to modern tailored operative approaches and use of neoadjuvant chemoradiation therapy to reduce surgical morbidity. Moreover, imaging is used to determine the full extent of disease for radiation planning and for evaluating treatment response. Understanding the relevant anatomy of the vulva and vaginal regions and the associated lymphatic pathways is helpful to recognize the potential routes of spread and to correctly identify the appropriate FIGO stage. The purpose of this article is to review the clinical features, pathology, and current treatment strategies for vulvar and vaginal malignancies and to identify multimodality diagnostic imaging features of these gynecologic cancers, in conjunction with its respective 2009 FIGO staging system guidelines.

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