The literature search yielded a total of 3724 articles. After the removal of duplicates, 3244 articles were included in the title and abstract screen. The full text screen was performed on a total of 57 articles, leading to 23 papers eligible for inclusion in the qualitative analysis (13 animal studies, 10 human clinical trials). Regarding the animal studies, local treatment with mitomycin-C (n=2 studies), adipose derived stem cells (ADSC’s) (n=2), a liquid buccal mucosal graft (n=1), halofuginone (n=2), rapamycin (n=1), docetaxel (n=1), metalloproteinase-I (n=1), collagenase clostridium histolyticum (n=1), dexpanthanol (n=1) and a honey solution (n=1) showed to have beneficial effects on one or more different outcomes. In 5/13 studies, urethral stricture formation was used as an outcome; histological analysis was performed in 11/13 studies and molecular and/or genetic expression was studied in 5/13 articles.
In human studies, mitomycin-C (n=3 studies), steroids (n=5), captopril (n=1) and hyaluronic acid/carboxymethylcellulose (n=1) showed to be effective as a local therapy to prevent the occurrence or recurrence of urethral strictures. In 7/10 studies, local therapy was applied directly after the urethrotomy, in 6/7 studies the context of a randomized controlled trial, using either mitomycin-C, triamcinolone or methylprednisolone as an additional intervention. A beneficial effect of additional prednisolone application was shown in the context of a non-randomized controlled trial. Using a different application method, hyaluronic acid/carboxymethylcellulose was applied once as instillation after a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), also as a randomized controlled trial. In the experimental group, urethral stricture formation was decreased after 24 weeks, measured by both uroflowmetry and urethrography. Furthermore, as an experimental clinical trial, clobetasol cream was applied twice a day for 2-3 months in biopsy proven lichen sclerosis patients. Successful management was defined as no subsequent therapy escalation during the first 2 to 3 months on the protocol, which resulted in a success rate of 89.3% at an average follow-up time of 24.8 months. Finally, daily use of captopril gel for one week, followed by treatment every other day for 2 to 3 weeks and subsequent twice a week for 4 to 6 weeks showed a beneficial effect on the recurrence or development of urethral strictures in a clinical phase II trial. In all studies, no significant adverse side effects were observed. In total, 712 male patients were enrolled in these studies.