Penile cancer: Current therapy and future directions

G. Sonpavde, L. C. Pagliaro, C. Buonerba, T. B. Dorff, R. J. Lee, G. Di Lorenzo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Background: Penile cancer (PC) is a rare cancer in western countries, but is more common in parts of the developing world. Due to its rarity and the consequent lack of randomized trials, current therapy is based on retrospective studies and small prospective trials. Design: Studies of PC therapy were searched in PubMed and abstracts at major conferences. Results: PC is generally an aggressive malignancy characterized by early locoregional lymph node (LN) spread and later metastases in distant sites. Given the strong predictive value of LN involvement for overall survival, evaluating regional LNs is critical. Advanced LN involvement is increasingly being treated with multimodality therapy incorporating chemotherapy and/or radiation. A single superior cisplatin-based regimen has not been defined. Further advances may occur with a better collaboration on an international scale and comprehensive understanding of tumor biology. To this end, the preventive role of circumcision and understanding of the oncogenic roles of Human Papilloma Virus-16, and smoking may yield advances. Preliminary data suggest a role for agents targeting epidermal growth factor receptor and angiogenesis. Conclusion: Advances in therapy for PC will require efficient trial designs, synergistic collaboration, incentives to industry and the efforts of patient advocacy groups and venture philanthropists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbermds635
Pages (from-to)1179-1189
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Biologic agents
  • Chemotherapy
  • Combined modality therapy
  • Molecular targets
  • Penile cancer
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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