Multi-institutional long-term experience with conservative surgery for invasive penile carcinoma

J Urol. 2003 Feb;169(2):500-2. doi: 10.1097/01.ju.0000043808.58188.52.


Purpose: Invasive squamous cell carcinoma of the penis occurs on the glans, prepuce, glans and prepuce, coronal sulcus and shaft. Penile squamous cell carcinoma subsequently invades local structures, corpora cavernosa and the urethra, and metastasizes to the inguinal lymph nodes. Invasive squamous cell carcinoma of the penis usually requires total or partial penectomy. We studied the effect of primary tumor resections tailored to the anatomical extent of the cancer with preservation of uninvolved structures in select patients with invasive penile squamous cell carcinoma.

Materials and methods: A total of 30 patients between 39 and 82 years old were treated with unconventional conservative surgical excision of the primary penile lesion. More than 130 patients were excluded from the study because they were treated with partial or total penectomy, Mohs' surgery or more extensive surgery. The 30 patients underwent preoperative biopsy with careful mapping of the extent of the disease. Patient age, tumor extent and grade, operative details, outcome and length of followup were analyzed.

Results: Tumor size ranged from 1.5 to 8 cm. in diameter. Tumors were well differentiated in 19 patients, moderately differentiated in 5 and poorly differentiated in 6. A total of 17 patients underwent ilioinguinal lymphadenectomy, 12 of whom had pathologically positive lymph nodes. Inguinal radiation was used in 2 patients. Chemotherapy was given to 7 patients with extensive inguinal lymphadenopathy and to 2 of 5 with pathologically positive lymph nodes. Followup ranged from 12 to 360 months. A total of 21 patients had no evidence of disease at last followup. Tumor resection with no sacrifice of function was performed in 2 patients in whom 3 small recurrences developed. One patient with numerous tumors had 2 small recurrences, which were completely excised with no further recurrence. Of the 7 patients with advanced lymphadenopathy 5 and of 5 patients with pathologically positive lymph nodes at presentation 1 died of the cancer but had no local recurrence in the penis.

Conclusions: In a minority of patients with anatomically suitable penile cancer conservative surgical techniques are safe and provide equal tumor control compared to conventional resections. The anatomical situation and tumor characteristics should dictate the choice of treatment for the primary penile lesion. Inguinal lymph nodes should be managed by appropriately established guidelines but should not influence the extent of primary penile lesion resection.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Penile Neoplasms / pathology
  • Penile Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Time Factors
  • Urologic Surgical Procedures, Male / methods*