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Management of Vaginal Intraepithelial Neoplasia

Gurumurthy, Mahalakshmi MRCOG; Cruickshank, Margaret E. MD, FRCOG

Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease: July 2012 - Volume 16 - Issue 3 - p 306–312
doi: 10.1097/LGT.0b013e31823da7fb
Review Articles

Objectives Vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia (VaIN) accounts for 0.4% of the lower genital tract intraepithelial disease. Various treatments have been reported often as small case series or reports.

Materials and Methods An electronic search of the Ovid MEDLINE (from 1948 to present) and PubMed was performed, and only articles written in English were reviewed. All articles ranging from case reports to randomized controlled trials were included. This review critically appraises the published evidence for different treatment modalities and gives an overview of these options.

Results The 3 main modalities reported were surgery, brachytherapy, and medical management. Surgery included local excision, laser ablation, vaginectomy, and cavitational ultrasonic ablation. Medical management included topical 5% imiquimod, 5-fluorouracil, and tricholoroacetic acid. All treatments had good success rates for disease clearance with low rates of progression to cancer. Prerequisites for ablative treatments are the lesion is fully visible and adequately examined by biopsy to exclude invasion. Where invasion is suspected or cannot be excluded (e.g., at the vault suture line), surgical excision is essential. Brachytherapy and vaginectomy, although effective, have a limited place because of their related morbidity. Treatment choice may depend on the availability of equipment and expertise.

Conclusions Conservative options in the form of laser ablation and topical agents are useful as first-line treatment methods especially in young women and for multifocal disease. Radical options like brachytherapy and vaginectomy should be reserved for highly selected cases. Evidence from a randomized controlled trial of first-line treatment with surgical and medical therapies is needed to compare treatment success and impact on quality of life.

This review on the management of vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia critically analyzes different treatment modalities to guide clinicians on the optimal management.

Department of Gynecology, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen, United Kingdom

Reprint requests to: Mahalakshmi Gurumurthy, MRCOG, Department of Gynecology, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Ward 43, Forester Hill Rd, Aberdeen, AB25 2ZN, United Kingdom. E-mail:

The authors did not receive financial support for this study.

©2012The American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology