Sarcomatoid squamous cell carcinoma of the penis: a clinical and pathological study of 5 cases

A P Lont, M P W Gallee, P Snijders, S Horenblas
Journal of Urology 2004, 172 (3): 932-5

PURPOSE: We analyzed clinical, morphological and immunohistochemical features in 5 cases of sarcomatoid or spindle cell squamous cell carcinoma of the penis.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The clinical and pathological files of all patients with penile carcinoma treated at our hospital between 1956 and 2002 were reviewed. Cases diagnosed as sarcomatoid squamous cell cancer were selected.

RESULTS: Five of 341 patients (1.4%) had sarcomatoid penile carcinoma. Tumor stage was T2N0 in 2 patients, T2N2 in 2 and T4N3 in 1. In all patients partial or total penectomy was eventually performed. Three patients underwent bilateral inguinal lymphadenectomy. Four of 5 patients had distant metastatic disease and died within 1 year after diagnosis. One patient had exclusive hematogenous spread without lymph node involvement. Foci of distant metastatic tumor sites were the lung, skin, bone, pericardium and pleura. In 4 patients the diagnosis was based on the expression of keratin filaments in a predominantly spindle cell penile tumor or by the identification of carcinomatous and sarcomatoid areas on hematoxylin and eosin stained slides of the primary tumor. In 1 case a squamous component in a lymph node metastasis rendered the keratin negative spindle cell primary tumor sarcomatoid squamous cell carcinoma.

CONCLUSIONS: Sarcomatoid squamous cell carcinoma of the penis is a subtype of squamous cell carcinoma with a poor prognosis often associated with wide hematogeneous spread. It is a rare malignancy that is often difficult to diagnose, requiring additional immunohistochemical stains.

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