Between 1964 and 1987 ten patients with vaginal melanoma were treated at The University of Michigan Hospital. Five of the six patients who underwent radical surgery had adequate information concerning the first site of relapse, and in four of these five, pelvic sites or locoregional lymph nodes were the first sites of recurrent disease. One of these patients developed a 17-cm pelvic recurrence, which responded with a 75% reduction in size 3 months after completion of radiotherapy given in high individual fractions (400 cGy X 11). Three patients were managed with local resection, and all developed recurrent locoregional disease. One patient presented with metastatic disease. We conclude that locoregional control of vaginal melanoma is difficult to achieve with surgery alone. We hypothesize that preoperative radiotherapy to the pelvis (500 cGy X 6 given 3 days a week to the whole pelvis with subsequent consideration for a vaginal boost field) may improve the poor rate of locoregional control of vaginal melanoma that is seen when surgery alone is used.