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Urologia. 2010 Oct-Dec;77 Suppl 17:64-71.

[Neuroendocrine small-cell bladder cancer: our experience].

[Article in Italian]

Author information

  • 1UO Urologia, Azienda Ospedaliera Ospedale Treviglio Caravaggio (Bergamo), Italy. micheleruoppolo@tiscalinet.it



Neuroendocrine bladder cancer is extremely rare, with an estimated incidence of 0.35-0.70% of all bladder tumors. The small-cell carcinoma represents the most frequent histologic variant described. Small-cell carcinoma is an epithelial tumor associated with a more aggressive behavior and poorer prognosis than transitional cell bladder carcinoma. The overall survival rate at 5 years does not exceed 8%. At the time of presentation 59% of patients have clinical stage >T2 and 56% show metastatic disease. In 50% of the patients, fatal progression occurs within 6 months. Local recurrence after radical surgery occurred in 50-70% of cases.


We report three cases of pure neuroendocrine small-cell bladder cancer. Hematuria was the most common presenting symptom. Local advanced disease was present in all the cases with stage >T2, metastatic disease in 1 case, lymph node involvement and ureteral bilateral obstruction in 2. Two patients were treated by radical cystectomy, bilateral pelvic limph node resections and urinary derivation. Platinum-based adjuvant chemotherapy was proposed but only two patients received the treatment. One patient with liver metastasis was managed only by extensive TUR and support regimen.


In 2 patients residual or relapsed cancer reappered within 2 months after surgery. All of the three patients died of metastatic disease at 5, 7, and 13 months. Median overall survival was 7 months. The most common site of relapse and spread of disease was the peritoneum and intestinal tract, and the reason of death was uncontrolled acute hemorrhage from gastro-intestinal district.


In the absence of a prospective study, and because of the rarity of the disease, the best treatment for small-cell bladder cancer remains uncertain. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy with platinum regimen plus aggressive surgical approach will be the treatment of choice. The association of chemotherapy and radiotherapy should also be considered.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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