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Cancer. 2003 Sep 1;98(5):955-61.

Natural history of surgically treated bladder carcinoma with extravesical tumor extension.

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Department of Urology, Kenneth Norris Jr. Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, MS #74, 1441 Eastlake Avenue, Suite 7476, Los Angeles, CA, USA.



The current TNM classification for bladder carcinoma stratifies extravesical extension into microscopic (pT3a) and macroscopic (pT3b) tumor involvement. The authors evaluated the outcomes of patients with pT3a and pT3b disease after radical cystectomy.


Patients (n = 129) with transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder treated with radical cystectomy alone demonstrated pathologic extravesical tumor extension: 37 (29%) had pT3a disease and 92 (71%) had pT3b disease. No patient received any adjuvant therapy. With a median follow-up of 13.6 years, the presence of lymph node involvement, margin positivity, local (pelvic) and distant disease recurrence, and clinical outcomes were determined.


Of the 129 patients, 43 (33%) had lymph node tumor involvement: 13 of 37 patients with pT3a disease (35%) and 30 of 92 patients with pT3b disease (33%). The 10-year recurrence-free and overall survival for the entire group was 54% and 20%, respectively. No statistical difference between pT3a and pT3b disease was observed with regard to recurrence-free (P = 0.54) and overall (P = 0.66) survival. Lymph node involvement was predictive of a significantly worse 10-year recurrence-free survival (32%) compared with lymph node-negative disease (60%; P = 0.003). Local disease recurrence was reported to occur in 12 patients (9%), whereas 37 patients (29%) were reported to develop distant metastases. Among those who had disease recurrence, the type of disease recurrence (local or distant) was not found to be associated with tumor stage (pT3a vs, pT3b, P = 0.47).


This cohort of surgically managed patients provided insight into the long-term natural history of pathologically confirmed extravesical bladder carcinoma after radical cystectomy. There was no important difference in the incidence of lymph node involvement, survival rates, and disease recurrence rates between patients with microscopic and macroscopic extravesical extension. Adjuvant protocols should be undertaken for these high-risk patients to further improve on these clinical outcomes.

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