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Eur Urol. 2003 Jul;44(1):47-50.

Significance of random bladder biopsies in superficial bladder cancer.

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  • 1Department of Urology, Technische Universit√§t M√ľnchen, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Ismaningerstrasse 22, 81675 Munich, Germany.



We investigated to what extent biopsies of normal-appearing urothelium taken from patients with superficial bladder cancer (Ta, T1, Tis) showed malignant disease and whether those findings had impact on therapeutical decisions.


1033 consecutive patients presenting with Ta, T1 or Tis (carcinoma in situ) superficial bladder tumors at increased risk for recurrence underwent multiple random biopsies from normal-appearing urothelium during transurethral resection (TUR). Patients with small, primary, singular tumors (smaller or equal to 1cm) were excluded from random biopsies.


No tumor was found in the random biopsies of 905 patients (87.6%). 128 patients (12.4%) showed urothelial bladder cancer in their random biopsies (Tis: 74, Ta: 41, T1: 12, T2: 1). In 14 patients, where transurethral resection of the primary tumor revealed no signs of malignancy, urothelial bladder cancer was detected in the random biopsy material: Ta 8 patients, Tis 5 patients and T1 one patient. 21 patients with Ta tumors and 29 patients with T1 disease showed concomitant Tis. Upstaging of the primary, resected tumor by histological examination of the random biopsy material occurred in 75 patients (7%). Altogether, due to the random biopsy results therapy was altered in 70 patients (6.8%) of our series: It changed intravesical chemotherapy to BCG in 45, provoked a second TUR in 48 and cystectomy in 15 patients.


While the clinical significance of random biopsies is still controversial, random biopsy results had strong impact on therapeutical decisions in our series. Regarding random bladder biopsies a simple tool for the urologist to identify high risk groups of patients, we recommend them as part of the routine management of superficial bladder cancer.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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