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Organ-sparing surgical and nonsurgical modalities in primary penile cancer treatment

Raskin, Yannica; Vanthoor, Jorena; Milenkovic, Urosa; Muneer, Asifb,c; Albersen, Maartena

doi: 10.1097/MOU.0000000000000587
PENILE CANCER: Edited by Philippe E. Spiess and Maarten Albersen

Purpose of review To provide an overview of the current state of literature on organ-sparing approaches in penile cancer. Surgical as well as nonsurgical approaches can be adapted in the right setting, in an effort to spare patients from the burden of total or subtotal penectomy wherever possible. In this review, we focus on surgical approaches.

Recent findings Narrower surgical margins do not seem to affect overall survival rates, neither do local recurrences. This has allowed a paradigm shift towards more sparing approaches locally. Contrary to what was previously thought, margins of a few millimetres suffice for adequate local cancer control. This allows laser therapy, wide local excisions, partial glansectomy and other surgical techniques to be performed in an organ-sparing fashion. Ablative techniques such as brachytherapy and external beam radiotherapy also provide adequate local cancer control. These sparing approaches have an important effect on psychological and functional outcomes; however, they are insufficiently adapted even in larger referral centres.

Summary Organ-sparing techniques should be used in penile cancer surgery whenever possible. Patient selection for the most appropriate technique is key to provide good cosmetic and functional results while remaining oncologically safe.

aDepartment of Urology, University Hospitals of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

bUniversity College London Hospital

cNIHR Biomedical Research Centre, University College London Hospital, London, UK

Correspondence to Maarten Albersen, MD, PhD, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium. Tel: +32 16 34 66 87; fax: +32 16 34 66 87; e-mail:

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