The poor prognosis in patients who have symptomatic urethral carcinoma after cystoprostatectomy has prompted some investigators to recommend prophylactic urethrectomy. However, this approach subjects the majority of these patients (up to 90 per cent) to an operation for a disease that they might never have and precludes some innovative urinary diversion techniques. From June 1976 to July 1985 we performed 75 cystoprostatectomies for bladder cancer in men. Three patients underwent simultaneous urethrectomy because of tumor in the urethra. Of the remaining 72 patients who were followed by urethral wash cytology studies every 6 months 7 (10 per cent) had positive cytology studies during followup and underwent urethrectomy. Subsequent histological examination showed carcinoma in situ in all 7 specimens. To date 6 of the 7 patients are free of disease. One patient died 18 months after urethrectomy without evidence of transitional cell carcinoma. We have had no false positive urethral wash cytology studies and no patient has had local recurrence in the absence of a positive cytology study.
ASJC Scopus subject areas