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Carcinoma of the penis is a rare tumour of the male urogenital tract, which may be treated by using several modalities. We present a single-centre experience of iridium-192 implantation. From 1980 to 1997, 31 patients with node-negative penile cancer were treated with an iridium-192 implant to the penis. A retrospective analysis of the case notes was made. Survival curves were estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method. The median age at treatment was 61.5 years. Twenty-seven patients presented with Jackson Stage I disease and four with Stage II disease. They were treated with an iridium-192 implant to the penis after biopsy (n = 25) or tumour excision (n = 6), with a 'watch and wait' policy for inguinal nodes. Four patients did not complete their implantation treatment and had additional external beam radiotherapy. The median follow-up was 61.5 months. The primary tumour was controlled in 25 of 31 patients (80.6%) by the implant. In all but one patient with primary relapse, surgical salvage was successful, although one patient died of septicaemia 3 weeks after surgery. Nodes were the initial site of relapse in seven patients, with associated relapse in the primary in one. The actuarial 5-year survival rates were as follows: overall survival 69.0 %, disease-specific survival (corrected for intercurrent deaths) 85.4%, relapse-free survival 57.8% and local relapse-free survival 75.6%. One patient underwent amputation for necrosis and 11 of 25 patients (44%) who achieved penile conservation required dilatation for urethral stenosis. In conclusion, iridium-192 implantation is a successful method of treatment for penile cancer in terms of local control, with preservation of function in the majority of patients. In those who do relapse at the primary site, surgical salvage is usually possible.


Journal article


Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol)

Publication Date





25 - 31


Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Brachytherapy, Carcinoma, Disease Progression, Humans, Iridium Radioisotopes, Lymph Nodes, Male, Middle Aged, Penile Neoplasms, Retrospective Studies, Survival Analysis, Treatment Outcome