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Eur Urol. 2002 Feb;41(2):124-31.

The remnant urothelium after reconstructive bladder surgery.

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Department of Urology and Institute of Pathology, University of Innsbruck Medical School, Austria.


The pathology of the remnant urinary tract in an increasing population of cystectomy patients with orthotopic and heterotopic bladder substitution due to primary bladder carcinoma, and its management is discussed. The incidence of urethral tumours in primary or recurrent bladder cancer in long-term studies is approximately 6% for male and 2% for female patients. Risk factors for urethral tumour occurrence are tumours at the bladder neck and recurrent multifocal tumours. CIS of the bladder not involving the bladder neck, and muscle invasive tumours with or without lymph node involvement are not significantly correlated with urethral cancer. Those patients at risk for urethral tumours need additional work-up (multiple urethral biopsies and/or urethral brushings, frozen section of the membranous urethra) before an orthotopic lower urinary tract reconstruction to the urethra should be considered. In a large series of male patients, the majority of patients with urethral tumours had a single conservative treatment session, and did not recur thereafter demonstrating the feasibility of a conservative approach for superficial urethral tumour recurrences in patients with an orthotopic neo-bladder to the urethra. The incidence of upper tract tumours following cystectomy and lower urinary tract reconstruction lies between 2.4-17%. In a group of 258 patients with an orthotopic bladder substitution, we have seen an incidence of 3.5%. Tumour multifocality, carcinoma in situ in the bladder and/or distal ureter, locally advanced bladder tumour stage, and invasion of the intramural ureter were seen as risk factors in some series. A tendency for a higher incidence can be seen in those series with longer follow-up. The median time between cystectomy and diagnosis of upper tract tumours lies between 8 and 69 months in most series. A longer observation period in larger numbers of patients with an orthotopic neo-bladder and longer survival rates in general after cystectomy may reveal an increase in the incidence of upper tract tumours over the next decade.

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