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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Vulvar cancer

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Your Question

Have there been any specific genetic findings concerning vulvar cancer?  In my family, three female relatives had vulvar cancer, squamous cell carcinoma type.  I am concerned for all the females in my extended family and would be interested in any information you could offer.

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

Is there a genetic cause of vulvar cancer?

Most vulvar cancers occur by chance due to older age or human papillomavirus infection.  However, an inherited condition called Fanconi anemia is associated with a significantly increased risk for vulvar cancer.[1]  This condition is very rare and may cause only a small proportion of all vulvar cancers.  There is also some evidence that a small number of vulvar cancers may be related to a genetic predisposition: one research study found that relatives of individuals with vulvar cancer have a slightly increased risk to develop vulvar cancer, which suggests there may be a genetic component to this disease that could be shared by family members, but the specific gene is not yet known.[2]
Last updated: 7/27/2012

  • Rosenberg PS, Alter BP, Ebell W. Cancer risks in Fanconi anemia: findings from the German Fanconi Anemia Registry. Haematologica. 2008; 93:511-517. Accessed 7/20/2012.
  • Hussain SK, Sundquist J, Hemminki K. Familial clustering of cancer at human papillomavirus-associated sites according to the Swedish Family-Cancer Database. International Journal of Cancer. 2008; 122:1873-1878. Accessed 7/20/2012.