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J Urol. 2005 Apr;173(4):1163-8.

Urethral tumor recurrence following cystectomy and urinary diversion: clinical and pathological characteristics in 768 male patients.

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  • 1Department of Urology, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and the Kenneth Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, California 90089, USA.



We evaluated the incidence and risks of urethral recurrence following radical cystectomy and urinary diversion in men with transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder.


Clinical and pathological results were evaluated in 768 consecutive male patients undergoing radical cystectomy with intent to cure for bladder cancer with a median followup 13 years, including 397 (51%) who underwent orthotopic urinary diversion with a median followup of 10 years and 371 (49%) who underwent cutaneous urinary diversion with a median followup of 19 years. Demographically and clinically these 2 groups were well matched with the only exception being longer median followup in the cutaneous group (p <0.001). Urethral recurrence was analyzed by univariate and multivariable analysis according to carcinoma in situ, tumor multifocality, pathological characteristics (tumor grade, stage and subgroup), the presence and extent of prostate tumor involvement (superficial vs stromal invasion) and the form of urinary diversion (cutaneous vs orthotopic).


A total of 45 patients (6%) had urethral recurrence at a median of 2 years (range 0.2 to 13.6), including 16 (4%) with an orthotopic and 29 (8%) with a cutaneous form of urinary diversion. Carcinoma in situ and tumor multifocality were not significantly associated with an increased risk of urethral recurrence (p = 0.07 and 0.06, respectively). The presence of any (superficial and/or stromal invasion) prostatic tumor involvement was identified in 129 patients (17%). Prostate tumor involvement was associated with a significantly increased risk of urethral recurrence (p = 0.01). The estimated 5-year chance of urethral recurrence was 5% without any prostate involvement, increasing to 12% and 18% with superficial and invasive prostate involvement, respectively. Patients undergoing orthotopic diversion demonstrated a significantly lower risk of urethral recurrence compared with those undergoing cutaneous urinary diversion (p = 0.02). Patients without any prostate tumor involvement and orthotopic diversion (lowest risk group) demonstrated an estimated 4% year chance of urethral recurrence compared with a 24% chance in those with invasive prostate involvement undergoing cutaneous diversion (highest risk group). On multivariate analysis any prostate involvement (superficial and/or invasive) and urinary diversion form remained independent and significant predictors of urethral recurrence (p = 0.035 and 0.01, respectively).


At long-term followup urethral tumor recurrence occurs in approximately 7% of men following cystectomy for bladder transitional cell carcinoma. Involvement of the prostate with tumor and the form of urinary diversion were significant and independent risk factors for urethral tumor recurrence. Patients undergoing orthotopic diversion have a lower incidence of urethral recurrence compared with those undergoing cutaneous diversion. Although prostate tumor involvement is a risk factor for urethral recurrence, it should not preclude orthotopic diversion, provided that intraoperative frozen section analysis of the urethral margin is without evidence of tumor.

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