Understanding genomics and the immune environment of penile cancer to improve therapy.

Ahmet Murat Aydin, Jad Chahoud, Jacob J. Adashek, Mounsif Azizi, Anthony Magliocco, Jeffrey S. Ross, Andrea Necchi, Philippe E. Spiess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The incidence of penile squamous cell carcinoma (PSCC) has increased in developed countries over the past decades owing to increased human papilloma virus (HPV) exposure. Despite successful surgical treatment of locoregional PSCC, effective treatment options for advanced disease are limited. The prognosis of patients with bulky nodal and metastatic PSCC is dismal and new management approaches are urgently needed. Genomic analyses have provided transformative knowledge on the genomic and molecular landscape and tumour microenvironment of PSCC. Around one-quarter of patients with metastatic PSCC have clinically actionable genomic alterations in mechanistic target of rapamycin, DNA repair and receptor tyrosine kinase pathways. These patients might benefit from combined and sequential targeted therapies. HPV vaccination might be another therapeutic option as PSCC is genetically similar to other HPV-driven cancers. In addition, 40-60 expression, and the frequency of mutational signatures suggestive of immunotherapy resistance is low, pointing to potential utility of immunotherapy for PSCC. Finally, identification of the composition of the penile microbiota and its biological role might lead to new cancer prevention and treatment strategies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Reviews Urology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2020


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