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Eur Urol. 2006 Dec;50(6):1176-82. Epub 2006 Jun 13.

Delay in the surgical treatment of bladder cancer and survival: systematic review of the literature.

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Department of Surgery Urology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. <>



Eighty per cent of the newly diagnosed invasive bladder tumours are invasive from the outset. Half of these patients already have occult distant metastases reflecting the rapid nature of progression. The aim of the current study was to review the literature to determine if delay in cystectomy leads to worse prognosis and to determine if a possible cutoff point for delay exists, after which a worse outcome would be expected.


We performed a systematic review of publications indexed in Medline and other scientific databases by analyzing types and causes of delay in performing radical cystectomy. Information on the impact of such delays on tumour recurrence and survival was collected and summarized. Papers that described only delay without any outcome correlation were excluded from the study.


A total of 13 papers published from 1965 to 2006 were included in this study. Three (23%) papers did not find any correlation between pretreatment delays and survival. Two (15%) papers reported a trend towards worse survival with delay. Eight (62%) papers documented significant association between delay and worse prognosis. Delay influenced survival as an independent variable in two (25%) of these eight papers. In the remaining six (75%) manuscripts, delay was significantly associated with a higher pathologic stage.


Although studies on bladder cancer failed to show a linear relationship between delay and prognosis, the majority confirmed that delays are associated with worse outcome. Studies suggested a window of opportunity of less than 12 weeks from diagnosis of invasive disease to radical cystectomy.

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