Dr. med. Dirk Manski

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Female Urethral Cancer

Urethral cancer is a rare malignant tumor of the urethra, which most commonly occurs in women over 70 years (Amin and Young, 1997) (Krieg and Hoffman, 1999) (Rajan et al, 1993).


Seldom, annual incidence of 1.5 per million population.

Etiology of Urethral Carcinoma

Risk factors include chronic inflammation or infection, diverticula, caruncle, papillomas, adenomas, leukoplakia and bladder cancer.

Pathology of Urethral Carcinoma


Most common is urothelial carcinoma (45%), followed by adenocarcinoma (29%) and squamous cell carcinoma (19%). Very rare: melanoma


Urethral cancer of the distal urethra spreads into the inguinal lymph nodes, tumors of the proximal urethra spread in the pelvic lymph nodes. The lymph node drainage is variable. Hematogenous metastases occur relatively late in squamous cell carcinomas, in contrast to transitional cell cancer.

Tumor stage according to TNM


Local tumor stage.


Lymph node metastases.


Distant metastases.



Signs and Symptoms of Urethral Carcinoma

Urethral bleeding, dysuria, frequency, urinary retention, palpable tumor or induration on pelvic examination.

Diagnostic Work-Up

Treatment of Female Urethral Cancer

Local excision or resection:

Suitable for well-differentiated non-invasive urethral tumors.

Anterior exenteration with complete urethrectomy:

Radical cystectomy with urethrectomy and resection of the anterior vaginal wall are treatment options for invasive tumors. Pelvic lymphadenectomy is done in the same way as in bladder cancer. If an invasive tumor of the distal urethra is present, inguinal lymphadenectomy is also recommended. Only heterotopic urinary diversion is possible. Some authors advocate for adjuvant radiotherapy.

Index: 1–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Amin und Young 1997 AMIN, M. B. ; YOUNG, R. H.:
Primary carcinomas of the urethra.
In: Semin Diagn Pathol
14 (1997), Nr. 2, S. 147–60

Krieg und Hoffman 1999 KRIEG, R. ; HOFFMAN, R.:
Current management of unusual genitourinary cancers. Part 2: Urethral cancer.
In: Oncology (Williston Park)
13 (1999), Nr. 11, S. 1511–7, 1520; discussion 1523–4

Rajan u.a. 1993 RAJAN, N. ; TUCCI, P. ; MALLOUH, C. ; CHOUDHURY, M.:
Carcinoma in female urethral diverticulum: case reports and review of management.
In: J Urol
150 (1993), Nr. 6, S. 1911–4

  Deutsche Version: Harnröhrenkarzinom der Frau