Objectives: To describe and compare primary urethral carcinomas in South Taiwan with those in the USA and to explore the influence of chronic arsenic exposure. Methods: From 1988 to 2001, there were 21 pathologically proven primary urethral carcinomas diagnosed and treated at our hospital (14 males, 7 females). Seven of 14 male patients were chronically exposed to arsenic in drinking water for an average of 23 years. We compared our cases to three studies in the USA (80 males, 179 females), and analyzed the influence of chronic arsenic exposure by onset age, histology, staging, and outcome. Results: Male patients with localized tumors had better survival compared to those with advanced tumors (p = 0.0045 in males, p = 0.07 in females). In comparison to the three studies in the USA, there was an unusual higher frequency of bulbomembranous adenocarcinoma at our center (43 vs. 18%, 2 and 0%, respectively, p < 0.0001), particularly among those with chronic arsenic exposure (73 vs. 14%, p = 0.031). Conclusions: In South Taiwan, there was a high frequency of bulbomembranous urethral adenocarcinoma, which might be associated with chronic arsenic exposure. Although the implications of such an observation are minimal owing to its rarity, it is worth exploring.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes