Changes in the clinicopathological demographics of vulvar cancer in Japan: Increasing oldest-old, stage shifting, and decreasing cohort-level survival

Shin Nishio, Koji Matsuo, Takeo Shibata, Satoshi Yamaguchi, Hiroyuki Kanao, Kazuhiro Takehara, Nobuhiro Kado, Akiko Tozawa, Hideki Tokunaga, Tatsuya Matsunaga, Hisamori Kato, Koji Horie, Akira Kikuchi, Takayuki Enomoto, Mikio Mikami

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: To examine trends in the clinicopathological characteristics of vulvar cancer in Japan. Methods: This is a nationwide retrospective study examining consecutive women with vulvar cancer between 2001 and 2010 in Japan (n = 1061). Temporal trends in demographics, tumor characteristics, and survival were assessed by cohort-level analysis. The National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Result Program was used for external validation (n = 10,154). Results: The number of oldest-old women aged ≥80 years significantly increased (from 18.0% in 2001 to 30.6% in 2010; 70.5% relative increase) in the study period. A stage shift was observed, with stage I disease decreasing from 43.0% to 34.0% (21.0% relative decrease), and tumors with distant metastases increasing from 23.2% to 35.6% (53.3% relative increase, p < 0.05). The number of women who underwent surgical treatment decreased from 84.0% to 69.7% (17.0% relative decrease), whereas utilization of radiotherapy increased from 34.4% to 43.2% (25.7% relative increase) over time (p < 0.05). In the cohort-level analysis, the five-year survival rates significantly decreased from 2001 to 2010 (p < 0.05), specifically, 66.9% to 51.0% for progression-free survival (23.7% relative decrease), 79.5% to 67.9% for cause-specific survival (14.6% relative decrease), and 74.9% to 62.3% for overall survival (16.9% relative decrease). In the patient-level analysis, oldest-old women were less likely to undergo surgical treatment and were independently associated with decreased survival (p < 0.05). In the US cohort, the number of oldest-old women (25.2% to 27.8%) and the five-year cause-specific survival rate (81.8% to 79.9%) remained unchanged during the study period (p > 0.05). Conclusion: Demographics and outcomes of vulvar cancer in Japan significantly changed during the study period. An increasing oldest-old population and a stage shift to more metastatic disease resulted in a cohort-level decrease in survival rates.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2081
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Demographics
  • Elderly
  • Japan
  • Survival
  • Trends
  • Vulvar cancer


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