Management of invasive squamous cell carcinoma of the bulbomembranous male urethra with co-ordinated chemo-radiotherapy and genital preservation


Dr. R.A. Oberfield Section of Medical Oncology, Lahey Hitchcock Medical Center, 41 Mall Road, Burlington, Massachusetts, 01805, USA.


Objective To determine the success of chemo-radiotherapy for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the bulbar male urethra, an uncommon but aggressive cancer usually treated by radical deforming surgery.

Patients and methods Two men, aged 42 and 49 years, with locally advanced SCC of the proximal deep urethra were treated with a modified Nigro chemo-radiation protocol. The initial treatment was by suprapubic cystotomy urinary diversion followed by 45 Gy in 25 fractions over 5 weeks to the penis, perineum and regional lymphatics. Chemotherapy consisted of a single intravenous dose of mitomycin C (10 mg/m2 ) and an intravenous infusion of 5-fluorouracil (1 g/m2 /day) for 96 h starting on the first day of radiation therapy and repeated 28 days later.

Results Follow-up evaluation with urethral biopsies, retrograde urethrography, computed tomography of the pelvis and cysto-urethroscopy under anaesthesia showed no residual tumour in either patient but the development of a proximal urethral stricture at 1.5 and 4 years, respectively.

Conclusion This report presents the first evidence of a successful reduction of tumour stage with the local eradication of invasive SCC and penile preservation with no recurrence of the tumour or the need to excise the urethra.