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Eur Urol. 2005 Jul;48(1):53-9; discussion 59. Epub 2005 Apr 7.

Cystectomy in patients with high risk superficial bladder tumors who fail intravesical BCG therapy: pre-cystectomy prostate involvement as a prognostic factor.

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  • 1Urology Service, Fundació Puigvert, C/Cartagena, 340, 08025 Barcelona, Spain.



To review understaging and outcome of patients who underwent radical cystectomy (RC) for high risk superficial bladder cancer after bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) failure.


We carried out a retrospective study of 62 cases in which RC was indicated for clinical stage Tis, Ta, T1 transitional cell bladder tumors that failed transurethral resection (TUR) and BCG treatment. We used BCG (81 mg/Connaught BCG) in patients with superficial grade 3 tumors and CIS. We considered BCG failure a high-grade recurrence at 3 months of the first BCG course or after 2 courses. RC indications, correlation between their clinical and pathological stage and the ensuing progress were analyzed. We assessed the existence of any pre-cystectomy clinical or pathological factor related to understaging and survival.


RC was performed in 22 patients with carcinoma in situ (CIS) (35%), 7 with Ta (11,2%), 31 with T1 (50%), and 2 with Tx tumors (3%). All 62 but one were high-grade tumors (grade 3 and/or CIS). Tumor was clinically understaged with stages pT2 or greater on the RC specimen in 17 patients (27%). The presence of tumor in the prostatic urethra at the moment of endoscopic staging before RC was the only factor associated with clinical understaging (p=0.003) and shorter survival (p<0.0002). Five-year disease-specific survival rate was significantly lower in understaged (38%) as compared with not-understaged patients (90%) after a median follow-up of 40-months (range 1-142) (p=0.006). Overall five-year disease-specific survival was 79%.


RC should be performed prior to progression in high risk superficial tumors that fail after TUR and BCG. In patients with clinical and pathological nonmuscle invasive disease, RC provides an excellent disease-free survival. One third of patients with HRSBT who underwent RC after BCG failure were understaged and had a shorter survival. Tumor in the prostatic urethra at endoscopic staging was the only factor associated to understaging and shorter survival.

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