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Volume 6, Pages 2603-2610
Review Article

Superficial Urothelial Cancer in the Prostatic Urethra

Dokuz Eylul University School of Medicine Department of Urology, Izmir, Turkey

Received 21 November 2005; Revised 6 February 2006; Accepted 10 February 2006

Academic Editor: Anthony Atala

Copyright © 2006 Ziya Kirkali and A. Erdem Canda.


Transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) is a multifocal disease of the urinary tract that can also involve the prostatic urethra (PU). The exact incidence of superficial involvement of the PU in patients with bladder TCC is not well known. Bladder TCC may involve the prostate in 12—40% of the patients and the degree of involvement can include urethral mucosa, ducts, acini, and stroma of the gland, which has been shown to affect the outcome. Risk factors for superficial urothelial cancer in the PU are high-grade, multifocal bladder TCC and presence of carcinoma in situ (CIS) in the bladder. While visible tumors are easy to detect and resect, controversy still exists regarding the optimal technique to identify prostatic involvement by TCC. Prostatic urethral sampling by a transurethral resection biopsy or a cold-cup biopsy, particularly in the high-risk group of bladder cancer patients, has been recommended for detecting prostatic urethral involvement. Management of superficial prostatic involvement by TCC is also unclear. Currently, there is increasing recognition of the value of conservative treatment options with intravesical agents when there is superficial involvement of the PU. Particularly, intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guèrin (BCG) seems to be an effective treatment alternative in the management of superficial involvement of the PU by TCC. Close follow-up by cystoscopy and PU biopsy at 3-month intervals, particularly in intermediate and high-risk patients who respond to intravesical therapy and in whom cystectomy is appropriate, is recommended in order to detect persistent tumor, recurrences, or progression.