Urachal carcinoma: surgical and chemotherapeutic options

Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2006 Dec;6(12):1715-21. doi: 10.1586/14737140.6.12.1715.


The urachal ligament is an embryologic remnant connecting the dome of the bladder to the umbilicus via the ligamentum commune. Autopsy series suggest that in approximately a third of subjects, the urachal remnant may persist with tubular or cystic structures. However, tumors of this site are extremely rare. Patients usually present with hematuria and upon imaging, have evidence of a cystic or solid structure in the bladder dome or in the bladder midline. If a biopsy confirms adenocarcinoma, these tumors should be considered an urachal cancer until proven otherwise. Although there are no prospective clinical trials reported to date, large single-institution reports suggest surgical resection with a partial cystectomy and en bloc resection of the urachal ligament with umbilicus as the treatment of choice in the setting of localized disease. Although there is currently no definitive role for neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy in this tumor, risk factors predicting progression may allow for the selection of patients at higher relapse risk for prospective studies. Unfortunately, there are many patients who present with metastatic disease that currently is not likely to be curable. There is no standard chemotherapy regimen for these patients; however, there is new-found hope with a currently accruing clinical trial exploring a 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy combination in this patient population.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnosis
  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy
  • Adenocarcinoma / epidemiology
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Adenocarcinoma / therapy*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / pathology
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cystectomy / methods*
  • Deoxycytidine / administration & dosage
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage
  • Gemcitabine
  • Hematuria / etiology
  • Humans
  • Leucovorin / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Umbilicus / surgery
  • Urachal Cyst / pathology
  • Urachal Cyst / surgery
  • Urachus / pathology*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / surgery
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Deoxycytidine
  • Cisplatin
  • Leucovorin
  • Fluorouracil
  • Gemcitabine