Histologic grade and perineural invasion are more important than tumor thickness as predictor of nodal metastasis in penile squamous cell carcinoma invading 5 to 10 mm

Elsa F. Velazquez, Gustavo Ayala, Hao Liu, Alcides Chaux, Magali Zanotti, Jose Torres, Soung I. Cho, Jose E. Barreto, Fernando Soares, Antonio L. Cubilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

88 Scopus citations


Penile squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) invading to a depth inferior to 5 mm usually have very low risk for regional metastasis, whereas tumors thicker than 10 mm have a high metastatic potential. A significant number of squamous cell carcinomas, however, belong to an intermediate category (5 to 10 mm in thickness) in which the incidence of regional lymph node metastasis is very difficult to predict. Consequently, a frequent clinical dilemma is whether to perform or not inguinal dissection in this group of lesions. The objective of this study was to evaluate multiple risk factors for regional metastasis in tumors 5 to 10-mm thick. One hundred thirty-four partial penectomies with invasive carcinomas 5 to 10-mm thick, all of which with corresponding inguinal lymph node dissection, were evaluated. Factors evaluated were-patient's age, anatomic site, histologic grade, tumor thickness, anatomic levels of invasion, and vascular and perineural invasion. Grades were classified as 1, well; 2, moderately; and 3, poorly differentiated. To evaluate independent significance of various prognostic factors, a logistic regression analysis was performed, and a nomogram was prepared to evaluate metastatic risk according to histologic grade and perineural invasion. Groin metastasis was found in 66 of 134 patients (49%). High histologic grade and perineural invasion were statistically significant pathologic factors associated with groin metastasis. Nodal metastases were found in 2 of 25 grade 1 (8%), 24 of 46 grade 2 (52%), and 40 of 63 grade 3 carcinomas (63%) (P value 0.0001). Of 48 patients with perineural invasion, metastasis was found in 33 cases (69%) (P value 0.001). The average tumor thickness, anatomic level of invasion, and presence of vascular invasion were not statistically significantly different in metastasizing and nonmetastasizing neoplasms. Fifty percent of tumors invading 5 to 10 mm were not associated with metastasis and may be spared a nodal dissection. In this subset of patients, high histologic grade and perineural invasion were significant and useful risk factors associated with regional metastasis. The probability of inguinal node metastasis in patients with grade 1 tumors without perineural invasion is almost nonexistent whereas for high-grade tumors associated with perineural invasion is near 80%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)974-979
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Histologic grade
  • Metastasis
  • Penile
  • Perineural invasion
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Thickness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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