Imiquimod in cervical, vaginal and vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia: A review

C. J. de Witte, A. J. M. van de Sande, H. J. van Beekhuizen, M. M. Koeneman, A. J. Kruse, C. G. Gerestein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is in the vast majority of patients accountable for the development of vulvar, cervical and vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN, CIN, VAIN); precursors of vulvar, cervical and vaginal cancers. The currently preferred treatment modality for high grade VIN, CIN and VAIN is surgical excision. Nevertheless surgical treatment is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes and recurrence is not uncommon. The aim of this review is to present evidence on the efficacy, safety and tolerability of imiquimod (an immune response modifier) in HPV-related VIN, CIN and VAIN. A search for papers on the use of imiquimod in VIN, CIN and VAIN was performed in the MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane library databases. Data was extracted and reviewed. Twenty-one articles met the inclusion criteria and were analyzed; 16 on VIN, 3 on CIN and 2 on VAIN. Complete response rates in VIN ranged from 5 to 88%. Although minor adverse effects were frequently reported, treatment with imiquimod was well tolerated in most patients. Studies on imiquimod treatment of CIN and VAIN are limited and lack uniformly defined endpoints. The available evidence however, shows encouraging effect. Complete response rates for CIN 2-3 and VAIN 1-3 ranged from 67 to 75% and 57 to 86% respectively. More randomized controlled trials on the use of imiquimod in CIN, VAIN and VIN with extended follow-up are necessary to determine the attributive therapeutic value in these patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-384
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • Imiquimod
  • Intraepithelial neoplasia
  • Vulva
  • Cervix uteri
  • Vagina


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