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J Urol. 1993 Mar;149(3):492-7.

Squamous cell carcinoma of the penis. III. Treatment of regional lymph nodes.

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Department of Urology, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Antoni van Leeuwenhoekhuis, Amsterdam.


We analyzed the management of regional lymph nodes in 110 patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the penis treated at the Netherlands Cancer Institute between 1956 and 1989 with curative intent. Of 66 patients who presented with unsuspected nodes 57 were placed on a surveillance program, while lymph node dissection was performed in 5 (with adjuvant external radiation therapy in 1) and 4 were treated with external radiation therapy only. The management of 40 patients with clinically suspected nodes included surveillance in 5, lymph node dissection in 27 (with adjuvant radiotherapy in 11), biopsy in 4 and external radiation therapy in 4. Postoperative radiotherapy had been given if more than 2 nodes were involved or when extracapsular growth was observed. Overall, 25 patients had a regional recurrence, 5 of whom could be cured subsequently. All regional recurrences developed within 2 years after primary treatment. Analysis showed 100% survival in histologically proved node negative patients (stage pN0). The success of lymph node dissection was related to the extent of the metastatic spread and to the number of involved nodes. Patients with 1 positive node and unilateral inguinal involvement showed a statistically significant survival advantage compared to patients with more extensive spread. Considering the indications for node dissection we found a clear relationship among T category, grade and the probability of lymph node invasion. Patients with stage T1 tumors and stage T2, grades 1 and 2 tumors presented significantly less often with lymphatic invasion than those with other categories of disease and were less likely to have a regional recurrence after treatment of the primary tumor only. In these categories we recommend surveillance of the regional lymph nodes in patients who present with unsuspected nodes. However, patients with stage T2 grade 3, stage T3 and operable stage T4 tumors should undergo an immediate inguinal node dissection because of the high probability of clinically occult lymph node invasion (in our material more than 50%). With respect to the extent of the node dissection, we found that the likelihood of spread to the contralateral and/or pelvic regions was related to the number of invaded nodes in the inguinal region. We recommend contralateral node dissection and unilateral pelvic node dissection when 2 or more positive nodes are found in the dissected groin specimen. Primary pelvic node dissection should be performed in patients who present initially with cytologically or biopsy proved positive inguinal nodes.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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