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Keywords:

  • conservative surgery;
  • penile cancer;
  • surgical limit

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate the surgical excision margin required for local oncological control in primary penile cancers, as patients with penile cancer who undergo radical amputation suffer marked psychological, functional and cosmetic sequelae, and although organ-sparing surgery has improved the quality of life of these men, the optimum surgical excision margin to achieve oncological control is unknown.

PATIENTS AND METHODS

In all, 51 patients (mean age 61 years) diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the penis between May 2000 and December 2004 were selected for treatment with conservative surgical techniques. All patients were staged before surgery using magnetic resonance imaging. Histopathological features of the tumours, including type, grade, stage and distance from the surgical excision margin, were evaluated. All patients were followed in the outpatient department according to European Association of Urology guidelines.

RESULTS

The median (range) follow-up of the men was 26 (2–55) months. Patients were treated by wide localized excision (nine), glans excision (26) and partial penectomy (16). The histopathological review included the analysis of 102 surgical margins (deep and skin) with 49 (48%) measured within 10 mm of the tumour edge and 92 (90%) within a <20-mm resection margin. Three patients (6%) had tumour involvement at the surgical margin and had further surgery. During follow-up two patients (4%) developed local tumour recurrence and were treated successfully with partial penectomy.

CONCLUSION

A traditional 2-cm excision margin is unnecessary for treating squamous cell carcinoma of the penis. Conservative techniques, involving excision margins of only a few millimetres, appear to offer excellent oncological control.