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Urethral carcinoma in situ: recognition and management

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Urethral carcinoma in situ (CIS) is an uncommon malignancy that is poorly described in the published literature and is often under-recognized in the clinical setting. This short case series reports some challenges associated with the recognition and management of this disease.


A retrospective chart review was done over a 12-year period of patients presenting with urethral cancer to the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Four patients were identified with CIS of the anterior urethra, and their demographic and clinical data were recorded.


Three patients presented with meatal lesions that were initially treated as infectious/inflammatory diseases before diagnoses of malignancy were determined following lesion biopsy. The fourth patient presented with painless hematuria and had a cystoscopy and biopsy of urethral polyps. All patients were treated surgically by sequential distal urethrectomy and various reconstructive procedures. Concurrent lymph node dissections were undertaken in two patients who had clinical or radiologic evidence of lymphadenopathy. One patient had persistent disease even after aggressive urethral resection, and he succumbed to his illness 2 years later.


This is the largest series of urethral CIS, a disease with potentially serious consequences. A high index of suspicion should be maintained when evaluating and managing these patients.

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Correspondence to Arthur L. Burnett.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Berjeaut, R.H., Persaud, M.D.I., Sopko, N. et al. Urethral carcinoma in situ: recognition and management. Int Urol Nephrol 49, 637–641 (2017).

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