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Am J Clin Oncol. 2003 Dec;26(6):558-62.

Retrospective study of the treatment of urethral cancer.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA.


Urethral cancer is rare, encompassing less than 1% of all malignancies. Optimal management, at present, often relies on the limited experience gained from the study of retrospective cases. Therefore, it is imperative to share all available information regarding urethral cancer treatment via reportage of pertinent cases, thus enabling more complete comprehension and decision-making options by both clinicians and researchers. A retrospective review of 18 consecutive patients with primary urethral cancer was performed. An analysis was performed of clinical stage, treatment modality, and outcome. Overall patient survival rate for this retrospective was 44%, with a mean follow-up of 63.5 months. Seven of 10 patients with low-stage diagnosis remained disease free. Comparatively, only one of eight patients with high-stage cancer had no apparent disease. Patients with advanced cancer treated with surgery alone had a shorter disease-free survival (23.3 months) versus those treated with combination chemo/radiation therapy (45.2 months). The major characteristic with prognostic impact was statistically found to be low (T1-2, N0, M0) versus high (T3-4, N1, M1) stage, as assessed by Mann-Whitney U test (z = 2.83, p = 0.0023). Clinical staging afforded the strongest prognostic indication of survival. Patients with low-stage disease exhibited increased survival with single-modality therapy. However, patients with advanced cancer benefited from combined treatment using chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

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