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Article of the Week: Predicting Post-operative Complications of ILND for Penile Cancer

Every Week the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an accompanying editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community. This blog is intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation.

Finally, the third post under the Article of the Week heading on the homepage will consist of additional material or media. This week we feature a video from Dr. Philippe Spiess, discussing his accompanying editorial to the Article of the Week. 

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Predicting postoperative complications of inguinal lymph node dissection for penile cancer in an international multicentre cohort

Jared M. Gopman, Rosa S. Djajadiningrat*, Adam S. Baumgarten, Patrick N. EspirituSimon Horenblas*, Yao Zhu, Chris Protzel , Julio M. Pow-Sang*, Timothy Kim, Wade J. Sexton, Michael A. Poch and Philippe E. Spiess


Department of Genitourinary Oncology, Moftt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL, USA, *Department of Urological Oncology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Department of Urological Oncology, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Shanghai, China, and Department of Urology, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany



To assess the potential complications associated with inguinal lymph node dissection (ILND) across international tertiary care referral centres, and to determine the prognostic factors that best predict the development of these complications.


A retrospective chart review was conducted across four international cancer centres. The study population of 327 patients underwent diagnostic/therapeutic ILND. The endpoint was the overall incidence of complications and their respective severity (major/minor). The Clavien–Dindo classification system was used to standardize the reporting of complications.


A total of 181 patients (55.4%) had a postoperative complication, with minor complications in 119 cases (65.7%) and major in 62 (34.3%). The total number of lymph nodes removed was an independent predictor of experiencing any complication, while the median number of lymph nodes removed was an independent predictor of major complications. The American Joint Committee on Cancer stage was an independent predictor of all wound infections, while the patient’s age, ILND with Sartorius flap transposition, and surgery performed before the year 2008 were independent predictors of major wound infections.


This is the largest report of complication rates after ILND for squamous cell carcinoma of the penis and it shows that the majority of complications associated with ILND are minor and resolve without prolonged morbidity. Variables pertaining to the extent of disease burden have been found to be prognostic of increased postoperative morbidity.

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