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J Urol. 2005 Jul;174(1):103-6.

Prognostic significance of lymphovascular invasion of bladder cancer treated with radical cystectomy.

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  • 1Departments of Urology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, University of Southern California/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, California, USA. quekm@hsc.usc.edu



We determined the prognostic significance of lymphovascular invasion (LVI) in patients treated for invasive transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder with radical cystectomy.


From August 1971 to June 2004, 2,005 patients underwent radical cystectomy for primary bladder cancer with intent to cure. All patients with nontransitional cell carcinoma histology, palliative procedures, unknown lymphovascular status, less than pT1 pathological stage, or any neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy/radiation therapy were excluded, leaving 702 comprising the study cohort. Of the 702 patients 249 (36%) had LVI.


Median followup was 11.0 years (range 8 days to 23.2 years). Overall 5 and 10-year survival was 51% and 34%, while 5 and 10-year recurrence-free survival was 66% and 64%, respectively. Ten-year recurrence-free survival in patients without LVI was 74% compared with 42% in those with LVI (p <0.0001). Similarly 10-year overall survival was 43% in patients without LVI compared with 18% in those with LVI (p <0.0001). In the organ confined/lymph node negative and lymph node positive pathological subgroups survival outcomes were significantly worse if LVI was present. Although a trend was observed, LVI status was not statistically significant in patients with extravesical node negative disease. Stepwise Cox regression analysis revealed that pathological subgroup (organ confined, extravesical and lymph node positive) (p <0.0001) and LVI status (p = 0.0004) were independent prognostic variables for recurrence-free and overall survival.


Lymphovascular invasion appears to be an important and independent prognostic variable in patients with invasive bladder cancer treated with radical cystectomy. LVI status should be determined in cystectomy specimens, which may provide further risk stratification in patients following radical cystectomy.

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