Oncologic outcomes of penile cancer treatment at a UK supraregional center

3 min


Penile cancer is a rare cancer in western countries but more common in some Asian, African and South American countries. Most penile cancers are squamous cell carcinomas.

In the past, treatments (radical radiotherapy and amputative penile surgery) have had poor functional outcomes but more recently organ-preserving surgery has been more common with much better functional outcomes.

However, due to the rarity of penile cancer, long-term outcomes of contemporary treatments are not well described.   


The authors used data from a single centre over a 10-year period to report contemporary treatment outcomes of penile squamous cell carcinoma at a UK tertiary supraregional center.

The outcomes included type of treatment, oncologic results, and long-term survival.


Patients with squamous cell carcinoma treated during the period January 2000 to January 2011, with complete medical records and follow-up data of at least 3 years, were included in the study.

Medical records were reviewed to identify the mode of therapy (penile preserving or amputative surgery), pathology reports (reclassified according to the 2009 tumor-nodes-metastasis (TNM) classification), recurrence patterns, and cancer-specific survival (CSS).

Kaplan-Meier plots were used for survival analyses.


203 patients (median age 62.6 years; range 32-89) were identified with a median follow-up of 61 months. At presentation, 165 patients (82%) were node negative, 31 (15%) were node positive, and 7 (3%) had metastatic disease.

Initial treatments included penile preserving surgery (n = 99, 49%), partial penectomy (n = 49, 24%), radical penectomy (n = 48, 24%), and chemotherapy or radiotherapy for metastatic disease (n = 7, 3%).

After organ-preserving surgery, local recurrence occurred in 18 patients (18%, compared with 4% for amputative surgery), with 17 of the 18 recurrences occurring within 3 years.

Of the 18 recurrences, only 3 had radical penectomy while the other 15 had repeat organ-preserving surgery or laser therapy.

Histopathologic staging was as follows, with pTis (20%), pT1 (27%), pT2 (27%), pT3 (7%), and pT4 (1%). Over the study period, 27 (13%) patients died of penile cancer. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed a 5-year CSS of 85% and a 10-year CSS of 81%.

Five-year CSS was noted to decrease with advancing stage with pN0 tumors (92%), N1 (73%), N2 (61%), N3 (33%), and M1 (0%; P <.0001).


Data from this supraregional centre in the UK with substantial experience in penile cancer management shows good outcomes for penile cancers over the past decade with improvements over time.

There has been an increase in the use of penile-preserving surgery over the years resulting in improved functional, psychosexual and cosmetic outcomes.

However, close follow-up is vital to pick up local recurrence after penile-preserving surgery as most had successful salvage treatment with further organ-preserving surgery.

Overall oncologic outcomes are good with a 5-year CSS of 85% (92% for node-negative disease).

Did you find this page helpful?

Information provided on this website is not a substitute for medical advice

Call 000 for emergency services

If you or someone you know needs urgent medical attention.

Call MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78 for 24/7 support

MensLine Australia is a telephone and online counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns.

Sign up to our newsletter

We release two monthly newsletters – one written for men, family and friends, and another for health practitioners.

Your preferred mailing list

Your name

Your email

Stay up to date


Healthy Male acknowledges the traditional owners of the land. We pay our respects to elders past, present and future. We are committed to providing respectful, inclusive services and work environments where all individuals feel accepted, safe, affirmed and celebrated.


Healthy Male is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. This website does not host any form of advertisement. Information provided on this website is not a substitute for medical advice.

Trusted information partner of