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Interventions for the treatment of Paget's disease of the vulva

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Background: Extra-mammary Paget's disease is a rare form of superficial skin cancer. The most common site of involvement is the vulva. It is seen mainly in postmenopausal white women. Paget's disease of the vulva often spreads in an occult fashion, with margins extending beyond the apparent edges of the lesion. There is a range of interventions from surgical to non-invasive techniques or treatments. The challenges of interventions are to remove or treat disease that may not be visible, without overtreatment and with minimisation of morbidity from radical surgery. There is little consensus regarding treatment. Surgery, by default, is the most common treatment, but it is challenging to excise the disease adequately, and recurrence is common, leading to repeated operations, and destruction of anatomy. Alternative treatments of photodynamic therapy, laser therapy, radiotherapy, topical treatments or even chemotherapy have been mooted, and it is important to evaluate the available evidence. It is essential to assess whether newer cell-specific treatments, such as photodynamic therapy and imiquimod, can reduce the need for radical surgery. Objectives: To evaluate the benefits and harms of different treatment modalities for the management of Paget's disease of the vulva. Search methods: We searched the Cochrane Gynaecological Cancer Group Trials Register, the Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE and EMBASE up to September 2013. We also searched registers of clinical trials, abstracts of scientific meetings and reference lists of review articles and contacted experts in the field. Selection criteria: We searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and well-designed non-randomised studies that compared different interventions in women with Paget's disease of the vulva, Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently assessed whether potentially relevant studies met the inclusion criteria. We found no trials and, therefore, no data were analysed. Main results: The search strategy identified 635 unique references. We found 31 references (which reported on 30 studies) in full text after inspection of titles and abstracts, but we excluded them all as they did not meet the inclusion criteria. However, we have included a comprehensive narrative account of studies where we identified an analysis of more than 10 women, as this forms the only evidence base in this rare disease. Surgery continues to be the mainstay of treatment in the current literature, with other treatments limited to case reports or treatment of inoperable or recurrent disease. Authors' conclusions: We found no reliable evidence to inform decisions about different interventions for women with Paget's disease of the vulva. Ideally, a multicentre RCT of reasonable size is needed. In particular, evidence regarding the increasing use of imiquimod would be helpful to women and clinicians alike. Well-designed non-randomised studies, that use multivariate analysis to adjust for baseline imbalances, as well as other key methodological strengths, are also lacking.




Edey, K. A., Allan, E., Murdoch, J. B., Cooper, S., & Bryant, A. (2013, October 26). Interventions for the treatment of Paget’s disease of the vulva. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

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