Vaginal neoplasms in infancy: The combined role of chemotherapy and conservative surgical resection

Christopher R. McHenry, Marleta Reynolds*, John G. Raffensperger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This retrospective review of nine infants treated for vaginal tumors between 1964 and 1986 identifies the spectrum of lesions and examines the trend toward more conservative surgical therapy. Our patients' ages ranged from 1 to 30 months. Symptoms of vaginal bleeding or protruding tissue prompted examination under general anesthesia in all cases. Two children had benign protruding polypoid masses treated by simple excision. Seven had malignant tumors, two with endodermal sinus lesions and five with embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma. Early in this series, surgical therapy for embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma consisted of either anterior or complete pelvic exenteration, with adjuvant chemotherapy given in two of the three patients. One patient was operated on prior to the development of effective chemotherapy, and died of recurrent tumor 14 months after surgery. A second patient died from cardiac failure secondary to adriamycin toxicity 6 years after initial therapy. A third patient underwent total pelvic exenteration followed by successful reanastomosis of the colon to the anal verge. This patient, a female, is the oldest survivor and is free of disease 14 years after therapy. The most recent therapeutic approach used in two patients with embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma consisted of local tumor excision followed by postoperative chemotherapy. Both patients are alive and disease-free 9 and 11 years after therapy. Two patients with endodermal sinus tumor were treated with chemotherapy after simple excisional biopsy. They were then followed with serial vaginal biopsies at 3-month intervals. One required a partial vaginectomy for local recurrence 21 months after initial presentation. Both patients are alive and disease-free 18 months and 4 years after surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)842-845
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1988


  • Vaginal neoplasms
  • embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma
  • endodermal sinus tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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