Encyclopedia of Pathology

Living Edition
| Editors: J.H.J.M. van Krieken

Penile Clear Cell Carcinoma

  • Maurizio ColecchiaEmail author
  • Alessia Bertolotti
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28845-1_4880-1



Penile clear cell carcinoma (PCCC) is an aggressive human papillomavirus (HPV)-related tumor predominantly composed of clear cells.

Clinical Features

This very unusual tumor shows regional metastases and a tumor mortality exceeding 20% of the cases (Sanchez et al. 2016). PCCC occurs as large, irregular masses on the foreskin or glans.


PCCC has a predominant nesting growth pattern with comedonecrosis in central part of nests and comedo-like necrosis; there are clear cell features in cells with irregular or eccentric nuclei. The presence of HPV is diffused throughout the tumor. Intraepithelial neoplasia with warty or basaloid features can be found.

Differential Diagnosis

Warty Carcinoma with Prominent Clear Cells

The main differential feature is the papillary pattern of growth in warty carcinoma that is not observed in PCCC, where the growth pattern is in solid sheets or nests.

Basaloid Carcinoma

The presence of nesting growth pattern is the overlapping feature among these entities. In basaloid carcinoma, cells are small, uniform, and basaloid, but the late feature (basaloid differentiation) is at least focal in PCCC.

References and Further Reading

  1. Liegl, B., & Regauer, S. (2004). Penile clear cell carcinoma: A report of 5 cases of a distinct entity. The American Journal of Surgical Pathology, 28(11), 1513–1517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Sanchez, D. F., Rodriguez, I. M., Piris, A., Cañete, S., Lezcano, C., Velazquez, E. F., Fernandez-Nestosa, M. J., Mendez-Pena, J. E., Hoang, M. P., & Cubilla, A. L. (2016). Clear cell carcinoma of the penis: An HPV-related variant of squamous cell carcinoma: A report of 3 cases. The American Journal of Surgical Pathology, 40(7), 917–922.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Uropathology Unit, Department of PathologyFondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori di MilanoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of PathologyFondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori di MilanoMilanItaly