Urethral Cancer Associated With Invasive Bladder Cancer
Approximately 10% of patients having cystectomy for bladder cancer can be expected to have or to later develop clinical neoplasm of the urethra distal to the urogenital diaphragm. An autopsy series of patients having had cystectomy for bladder cancer documented histologic evidence of urethral neoplasm in 20% of the patients. A review from the Royal Marsden Hospital showed that those patients having cystectomy for multiple and superficial bladder lesions have an especially high incidence (34%) of urethral neoplasia.
The benefits of urethrectomy at the time of cystectomy need to be weighed against the morbidity factors, which include added operating time, hemorrhage, and the potential for perineal hernia. However, tumors found incidentally on pathologic examination are much more likely to be superficial or in situ in contrast to those that present with clinical symptoms at a later date when the likelihood of invasion within the corporal bodies is high. The former lesions are often curable, and the latter are only rarely so. Indications for urethrectomy in continuity with cystoprostatectomy are:
The bladder is a pouch in the urinary tract that stores urine after it is produced by the kidneys. The bladder is lined with specialized cells called transitional cells.
Bladder cancer often arises from these transitional cells. The cancer spreads by penetrating bladder muscle, infiltrating surrounding fat and tissue, and -- if untreated -- spreads to lymph nodes and other organs, such as the liver, lungs, or bones.
The earlier the cancer is diagnosed, the more limited it will likely be and...
Positive margins of the membranous urethra on frozen section taken at the time of cystoprostatectomy.
Multiple in situ bladder tumors that extend onto the bladder neck and proximal prostatic urethra.
If the urethra is not removed at the time of cystectomy, optimal follow-up includes periodic cytologic evaluation of saline urethral washings.[1,2,3,4]
Standard treatment options:
In continuity cystourethrectomy.
Monitor urethral cytology and delayed urethrectomy.
Current Clinical Trials
Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with urethral cancer associated with invasive bladder cancer. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.
General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.
Schellhammer PF, Whitmore WF Jr: Transitional cell carcinoma of the urethra in men having cystectomy for bladder cancer. J Urol 115 (1): 56-60, 1976.
Wolinska WH, Melamed MR, Schellhammer PF, et al.: Urethral cytology following cystectomy for bladder carcinoma. Am J Surg Pathol 1 (3): 225-34, 1977.
Gowing NFC: Urethral carcinoma associated with cancer of the bladder. Br J Urol 32(4): 428-438, 1960.
Hendry WF, Gowing NF, Wallace DM: Surgical treatment of urethral tumours associated with bladder cancer. Proc R Soc Med 67 (4): 304-7, 1974.