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Int Urol Nephrol. 2004;36(4):523-7.

What is the ratio of urethral recurrence risk after radical cystoprostatectomy for bladder cancer?

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  • 1Faculty of Medicine, Department of Urology, Süleyman Demirel University, Isparta, Turkey.



There is always a risk of urethral recurrence after radical cystoprostatectomy in patients with bladder transitional cell cancer. Taking these risk factors of urethral recurrence into account, orthotopic neobladders or urinary diversions without using the urethra are performed. But urethral tumour recurrence occurs much less than the expected. We assessed the etiological factors that affect the urethral recurrence in orthotopic and nonorthotopic urinary diversion cases.


Sixty-four patients with bladder cancer who underwent radical cystoprostatectomy and urinary diversion between 1994 and 2002 were included this study. Conventional risk factors effecting the selection of operation type and urethral recurrence were evaluated in these patients. Cystoscopy and biopsy were done and pathologic specimen was obtained preoperatively, and cystoscopy and urethral washout cytology were done postoperatively. Routine bladder biopsies were done in uncertain cases at follow-up. Risk factors increasing the urethral recurrence are as follows: papillary and multiple tumours, tumour invading bladder neck and trigone, extensive CIS, prostatic stromal and urethral invasion, positive surgical margin and history of upper urinary tract tumour. In 31 patients having one or more of these criteria, continent nonorthotopic urinary diversion was performed, but 33 patients without these risk factors underwent orthotopic urinary diversion. Simultaneous urethrectomy was not done in any of these patients.


Among the patients who underwent radical cystoprostatectomy, none was with positive surgical margin in the distal end of the prostatic urethra. In preoperative cystoscopy, tumoural mass was seen near to collum in eight patients and in the prostatic urethra in three patients. Histopathological examination of cystoprostatectomy specimen displayed transient epithelial cell carcinoma of prostatic urethra in three patients, transient epithelial cell metaplasia inside the prostate in five patients and invasion to the urothelium of bladder neck in three patients. There were not any transient epithelial cell cancer metastases in prostatic stroma in any of these patients. One patient underwent urethrectomy, since atypical cells were observed in postradical prostatectomy urethral washout cytology but there was no tumour found in pathological examination of the specimen. Therefore, urethral tumour recurrence did not occur after 25 months follow up.


These findings suggest that some of the conventional risk factors of urethral recurrence were exaggerated. We may also conclude that there is no need for prophylactic urethrectomy unless there is urethral cancer or cancer in the surgical margin. But if utilization of urethra is planned, evaluation of prostatic stroma by TUR biopsies and urethral anastomose margin by frozen section during the operation is necessary.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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