Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics

: 2015  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 1041-

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy with cetuximab for locally advanced penile cancer

Wu-Xia Luo1, Jian-Ping He1, Xiang Li2, Ji-Yan Liu1,  
1 Department of Medical Oncology, Cancer Center, The State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, Chengdu, China
2 Department of Urology, West China Hospital, West China Medical School, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Ji-Yan Liu
Sichuan University, No. 37, Guo Xue Xiang, Chengdu 610041, Sichuan Province

How to cite this article:
Luo WX, He JP, Li X, Liu JY. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy with cetuximab for locally advanced penile cancer.J Can Res Ther 2015;11:1041-1041

How to cite this URL:
Luo WX, He JP, Li X, Liu JY. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy with cetuximab for locally advanced penile cancer. J Can Res Ther [serial online] 2015 [cited 2020 Aug 14 ];11:1041-1041
Available from:

Full Text


Penile squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a rare malignancy. [1] Neoadjuvant chemotherapy represents the standard of treatment for patients with locally advanced penile SCC. [2] Recently, our previous study noted that the overexpression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) was common and mutations of KRAS and BRAF were rare in penile SCC, which suggested anti-EGFR antibody might be potentially beneficial to penile SCC. [3] Here, we describe a patient with locally advanced penile SCC using neoadjuvant chemotherapy with cetuximab (an anti-EGFR antibody).

In November 2013, a 68-year-old man, complaining about masses in his penis and groin, was diagnosed as penile SCC by pathological examination after fine-needle aspiration. Then, the patient received the total penectomy in the local hospital. However, the masses in his groin grew rapidly with secondary bacterial infection [Figure 1]a]. He was referred to our hospital for further treatment in December 2013. Computed tomography showed enlarged soft tissue shadows in his bilateral inguinal region [Figure 2]a and b]. KRAS and BRAF gene status analysis of the tumor showed wild types. Obviously, the tumor was considered unresectable. Then the patient started neoadjuvant therapy with cetuximab 800 mg on day 1 plus chemotherapy with paclitaxel 210 mg on day 1 and cisplatin 30 mg on day 1-3 every 2 weeks, and anti-infection treatment was also performed. After two chemotherapeutic cycles, his tumor achieved a partial response (PR) with a significant reduction in masses size and complete control of the infection [Figure 2]c and d]. After completion of the fourth course of chemotherapy, the swollen lymph nodes shrinked obviously [Figure 1]b]. Then he successfully underwent bilateral inguinal lymph node dissection in April 2014. Histopathological examination revealed that cancerous metastases were found in six lymph nodes. After 2 months recurrence-free time, unfortunately, the patient suffered a tumor recurrence in his right groin.{Figure 1}{Figure 2}

Although long disease-free time was not achieved in this case, a PR was achieved and bilateral inguinal lymph node dissection was completed. The good clinical response to cetuximab-containing chemotherapy followed by successful radical surgery suggested potential application of cetuximab in neoadjuvant therapy for locally advanced penile SCC. As we know, cisplatin-containing chemotherapy is now considered the first choice in neoadjuvant setting for advanced penile cancer; however, the prognosis of advanced penile SCC is poor. [2],[4] The chemotherapy regimen of three-drug combination likely leads to greater response, but more adverse reactions. In the prospective trial of neoadjuvant chemotherapy for advanced penile SCC (paclitaxel, cisplatin, and ifosfamide), a number of grades 3 and 4 adverse events were occurred. [2] Theoretically, replacing a kind of chemotherapy drug with cetuximab may reduce the overlap of possible adverse effects among chemotherapy drugs. In this case, mild acne-like rashes were observed due to cetuximab-related toxicity and the regimen was well-tolerated.

Given the rarity of the disease, the realization of a prospective trial will be difficult. The experience of treatment for penile SCC should be gathered case by case. Future investigations of anti-EGFR antibody in neoadjuvant setting for locally advanced penile SCC are warranted.


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