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Urethral carcinoma-general

Reviewers: Turki Al-Hussain, M.D. (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 3 June 2012, last major update June 2012
Copyright: (c) 2002-2012, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

Clinical features

● Rare, more common in women than men

Type depends on location:
● Tumors arising in the proximal urethra are likely to be urothelial carcinoma
● Tumors arising in the distal urethra are likely to be squamous cell carcinoma
● Adenocarcinoma may arise anywhere along the urethra but is most commonly associated with diverticula, prostatic adenocarcinoma; in women, may arise in periurethral glands and extend to the urethral mucosa secondarily

Primary urethral carcinoma in females:
● Rare; usually age 65+; 50% have advanced disease at diagnosis (World J Urol 2012 May 22 [Epub ahead of print])
● Symptoms are usually dysuria, hematuria, reduced urinary stream, urinary obstruction, fistula
● A history of infection, diverticulum, fistula, stricture is common
● 75% are non-keratinizing or keratinizing squamous carcinoma; remainder are split between urothelial carcinoma and adenocarcinoma
● More aggressive than bladder cancers (5 year survival only 41%)
● Death in a few years from local growth
● Tumor arising from proximal urethra is usually higher stage because of late diagnosis unlike those in distal urethra
● Metastases to inguinal and pelvic lymph nodes, lung, liver, bone


● Radiation therapy, possibly surgery

End of Urethra > Urethral carcinoma-general

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