Bacteriology and treatment of malodorous lower reproductive tract in gynecologic cancer patients

Vivian E. Von Gruenigen, Robert L. Coleman, Andy J. Li, Molly C. Heard, David Scott Miller, David L. Hemsell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the bacteriology of lower genital tract cancers to direct potential treatment modalities and to determine the impact of treatment on quality of life. Methods: Gram stain, saline preparations, tumor pH determinations, and anaerobic and aerobic tumor cultures were obtained from 13 consecutive patients with malodorous gynecologic cancers and 13 patients (controls) with nonmalodorous tumors. All patients with odor were treated with topical metronidazole for 7 days. Odor assessment questionnaires were administered daily in the treatment group. Quality-of-life evaluation was assessed using the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy questionnaire before and after treatment. Results: Cancer of the cervix (n = 21) was the most common primary site and accounted for 81% (95% confidence interval 61%, 93%) of malodorous gynecologic cancers. Eight of 13 (62%) patients with malodorous tumors had bacterial vaginosis compared with four of 13 (31%) of those without odor (P = .11). Aerobic and anaerobic bacteria were isolated with equal frequency from malodorous gynecologic cancers. Results of odor assessment questionnaires showed a graded improvement with topical antibiotic therapy (P < .001). The Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy questionnaire indicated improved quality of life after therapy (P = .02). Conclusion: Most patients with odor had bacterial vaginosis and had an improvement in odor with topical metronidazole. Therefore, this treatment might be useful for patients with malodorous pelvic tumors. Copyright (C) 2000 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-27
Number of pages5
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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