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Punch biopsy for penile cancer

Medical editor Bjørn Brennhovd MD
Oslo University Hospital


With superficial tumors (Tis-T1), it is clinically impossible to assess the depth of infiltration without performing a punch biopsy. In order to safely choose organ-saving surgery, it is necessary to know whether the tumor is infiltrating and how deeply it expands.  

With advanced penile cancer (T2-T4), determination of the depth of infiltration is not problematic.

A biopsy from the glans or prepuce may be done under local anesthesia.


  • biopsy punch with needle
  • forceps
  • knife
  • sutures
  • local anesthesia


  • Inject the local anesthesia at the base of the tumor.
  • Resect a biopsy with a 2 or 4 mm needle.
  • Retrieve the cylindrical biopsy tissue.
  • Mark the superficial end of the biopsy tissue.
  • If necessary, insert a suture.
  • Request for the depth of infiltration in the referral to the pathologist.


  • Consult with the patient when the histology result is available.

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