Papillary Carcinoma

Papillary Carcinoma

Antonio L. Cubilla, MD

Alcides Chaux, MD

Elsa F. Velazquez, MD

Low-power view of papillary SCC depicts the typical papillomatous pattern of growth with irregular and complex papillae and jagged tumor-stroma interface image with a prominent stromal reaction.

Histological features of the papillae include presence of mild acanthosis with moderate cytologic atypia, slight hyper- and parakeratosis, and no koilocytic changes in the epithelium.



  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)


  • Papillary carcinoma, NOS


  • Low-grade malignant epithelial tumor with typical exophytic pattern of growth

  • Diagnosis is made only after exclusion of other verruciform tumors

  • Represents 5-15% of all penile SCC

  • Accounts for 27-53% of all verruciform tumors


Etiologic Factors

  • Etiology unknown but frequently associated with lichen sclerosus

  • Evidence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection found in minority of cases



  • Age

    • Average age is 63 years (range from 43-85 years)


  • Granular and firm cauliflower-like exophytic tumor


  • Partial penectomy as primary treatment

  • Inguinal lymphadenectomy according to risk group stratification


  • Less aggressive than usual SCC

    • Recurrence rate of about 1/10, usually due to insufficient surgery

    • Inguinal metastases are found in about 1/10 of patients

    • Cancer-specific mortality rate very low

  • Similar to other verruciform tumors in biological behavior


General Features

  • Tumors present exophytic verruciform pattern of growth

    • Glans is most frequently affected anatomical compartment

    • Foreskin exclusively affected in minority of cases

  • Extension to multiple anatomical compartments in up to 50% of cases

  • Average size = 4.5-5.8 cm

  • Cut surface depicts serrated tumoral base

  • Poorly defined tumor-stroma interface

  • Invasion of penile erectile tissues is common

Jul 7, 2016 | Posted by in PATHOLOGY & LABORATORY MEDICINE | Comments Off on Papillary Carcinoma
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