Management of advanced primary urethral carcinomas

Farshid Dayyani, Karen Hoffman, Patricia Eifel, Charles Guo, Raghu Vikram, Lance C. Pagliaro, Curtis Pettaway

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Primary urethral carcinoma (PUC) is a rare malignancy accounting for <1% of genitourinary cancers, with a predilection for men and African-Americans. The sites and histology of urethral carcinoma vary by gender and anatomical location. Squamous cell carcinoma is most common among both genders but adenocarcinomas are noted in 15-35% of cases among women. Obstructive or irritative symptoms and haematuria are common modes of presentation. Clinical evaluation includes cystourethroscopy with biopsy and examination under anaesthesia. Magnetic resonance imaging provides a highly effective method to image the primary tumour while defbox drawings light down and leftning the potential involvement of surrounding structures. Most tumours are localised, with regional metastases to nodal sites seen in up to 30% of cases in both genders, while distant metastases at presentation are rare (0-6%), but occur in up to 40% of cases with recurrent disease. Among men, the two most important prognostic factors are disease location and stage. Low-stage tumours (T1-2) and tumours involving the fossa navicularis or the penile urethra have a better prognosis than higher stage tumours (>T2 or N+) and lesions involving the bulbomembranous urethra. In women, in addition to stage and location, the size of the tumour has also prognostic implications. While surgery and radiation therapy (RT) are of benefit in early stage disease, advanced stage PUC requires multimodal treatment strategies to optimise local control and survival. These include induction chemotherapy followed by surgery or RT and concurrent chemoradiation with or without surgery. The latter strategy has been used successfully to treat other human papillomavirus-related cancers of the vagina, cervix and anus and may be of value in achieving organ preservation. Given the rarity of PUC, prospective multi-institutional studies are needed to better define the optimal treatment approach for this disease entity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-31
Number of pages7
JournalBJU international
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • diagnosis
  • multimodal management
  • prognosis
  • urethral carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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