Primary urethral cancer: treatment patterns and associated outcomes

Roy Mano, Emily A. Vertosick, Joseph Sarcona, Daniel D. Sjoberg, Nicole E. Benfante, Timothy F. Donahue, Harry W. Herr, S. Machele Donat, Bernard H. Bochner, Guido Dalbagni, Alvin C. Goh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To evaluate treatment patterns and associated outcomes of patients with urethral cancer. Patients and Methods: After obtaining institutional review board approval we identified 165 patients treated for primary urethral cancer between 1956 and 2017. Treatment included monotherapy (surgery or radiation), dual therapy (surgery+radiation, surgery+chemotherapy, or chemotherapy+radiation) or triple therapy (surgery+radiation+chemotherapy). Rates of different treatments were described by treatment year. The association between treatment type and outcomes was evaluated with multivariable Cox regression models, adjusting for disease characteristics. Results: The study cohort included 74 men and 91 women, with a median age of 61 years. Common histologies were squamous cell (36%), urothelial (27%) and adenocarcinoma (25%). At presentation, 72% of patients had invasive disease, 24% had nodal involvement, and 5% had metastases. Treatment included monotherapy (57%), dual therapy (21%), and triple therapy (10%). The use of monotherapy decreased over time, while rates of dual therapy remained consistent, and rates of triple therapy increased. The median follow-up was 4.7 years. Estimated 5-year local recurrence-free, disease-specific and overall survival were 51%, 48% and 41%, respectively. Monotherapy was associated with decreased local recurrence-free survival after adjusting for stage, histology, sex and year of treatment (P = 0.017). There was no evidence that treatment type was associated with distant recurrence, cancer-specific or overall survival. Conclusions: We found preliminary evidence that multimodal therapy, more commonly used in recent years, was of benefit in patients with primary urethral cancer. This finding should be confirmed in further studies involving multiple centres because of the low incidence of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-366
Number of pages8
JournalBJU International
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • multimodal treatment
  • outcome
  • radiation
  • surgery
  • urethral tumour


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