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J Clin Oncol. 2003 Feb 15;21(4):690-6.

Radical cystectomy for bladder cancer today--a homogeneous series without neoadjuvant therapy.

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  • 1Department of Urology, University of Bern, Anna-Seiler Haus, CH-3010 Bern, Switzerland.



To investigate the effect of pelvic lymph node dissection and radical cystectomy for transitional cell cancer of the bladder on recurrence-free and overall survival, pelvic recurrences, and metastatic patterns in a homogeneous group.


A consecutive series of patients undergoing pelvic lymphadenectomy and radical cystectomy between 1985 and 2000 was analyzed. All patients were staged N0, M0 preoperatively, and no patient received neoadjuvant radio/chemotherapy. Pathologic characteristics based on the 1997 tumor-node-metastasis system, recurrence-free/overall survival, and metastatic patterns were determined.


Five hundred seven patients (age 66 +/- 12 years) with a mean follow-up time of 45 months (range, 0.1 to 176 months) were analyzed. Five-year recurrence-free and overall survival were, respectively, 73% and 62% for patients with organ-confined, lymph node-negative tumors (n = 217; < or = pT2, pN0) and 56% and 49% for non-organ-confined, lymph node-negative tumors (n = 166; > pT2, pN0). Positive lymph nodes were found in 124 (24%) patients who had a 5-year recurrence-free (33%) or overall (26%) survival. Isolated local recurrences were observed in 3% of patients with organ-confined tumors (< or = pT2, pN0), 11% with non-organ-confined tumors (> pT2, pN0), and 13% with positive lymph nodes (any pT, pN+). Distant metastases developed in 25% of patients with organ-confined tumors, 37% with non-organ-confined tumors, and 51% with positive lymph nodes.


Despite negative preoperative staging, pelvic lymphadenectomy and cystectomy for bladder cancer reveal a high percentage of unsuspected nodal metastases (24%) that have a 25% chance for long-term survival. This procedure also ensures a low pelvic recurrence rate even in lymph node-positive patients, and patients with locally advanced cancer have a 56% probability of 5-year recurrence-free survival.

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