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Scand J Urol Nephrol. 2008;42(3):237-42. doi: 10.1080/00365590801948166.

Histological classification and stage of newly diagnosed bladder cancer in a population-based study from the Northeastern United States.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA.



There are limited data on the distribution of bladder cancers in the general population, classified by World Health Organization (WHO)/International Society of Urological Pathology (ISUP) criteria. This study evaluated the classification and stage of bladder cancers as part of a population-based epidemiological study of bladder cancer in the Northeastern United States.


All New Hampshire residents with bladder cancer newly diagnosed from 1998 to 2000 were identified through the state cancer registry. All slides were reviewed by a single pathologist. Tumors were classified by two sets of standard criteria.


The retrieval rate for cases was over 90%. Of 342 cases reviewed, 15 were excluded for technical reasons or because malignancy was not definitively diagnosed. According to WHO/ISUP criteria, 25.7% of tumors were papillary urothelial neoplasms of low malignant potential (PUNLMP), 34.3% low-grade papillary carcinomas, 22.6% high-grade papillary carcinomas, 10.1% non-papillary urothelial carcinomas and 5.5% carcinoma in situ. By WHO (1973) criteria, 52.5% of tumors were grade 1, 21.4% grade 2 and 26.1% grade 3. Two-thirds of all tumors were stage Ta, 20.8% stage T1 and 7.6% stage >or=T2. 100% of PUNLMPs were non-invasive, 6.3% of low-grade carcinomas were invasive and 64.9% of high-grade carcinomas were invasive.


Compared to clinic or hospital referral-based series, this study documents a higher percentage of non-invasive tumors and a lower percentage of muscle-invasive tumors. There was also a higher percentage of PUNLMP tumors and fewer high-grade papillary carcinomas than in other series. These results may more accurately reflect prevalence data for bladder cancer grade and stage, although geographic variability may exist.

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