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Cancer. 2009 Apr 1;115(7):1435-47. doi: 10.1002/cncr.24147.

Surveillance of urothelial carcinoma: stage and grade migration, 1993-2005 and survival trends, 1993-2000.

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Department of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University, New York, New York, USA.



Previous investigators have detected shifts to lower stages at diagnosis for renal cell carcinoma and prostate cancer. The authors investigated whether a similar pattern is seen for urothelial carcinomas of the bladder, ureter, and renal pelvis and sought to identify changes in cancer grade and survival trends from 1993 to 2005.


The National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) collects data on approximately 75% of all newly diagnosed cancer cases annually. The authors queried the database for cases of urothelial carcinomas diagnosed in 1993-2005 in patients aged 18 years and older. All cancer stage data were forward converted to the sixth edition of the American Joint Committee on Cancer staging definitions.


A total of 334,480 bladder cancer cases, 15,105 renal pelvis cancer cases, and 10,128 ureteral carcinoma cases were identified. Stage data were available for 84% of bladder cases, 83% of renal pelvis cases, and 82% of ureter cases. With the classification of early stage tumors as stage 0a, 0is, and I and late stage tumors as II, III, and IV, the percentage of early stage renal pelvis and ureter tumors increased slightly from 1993 to 2005, whereas no stage migration was seen in bladder tumors. In looking specifically at early stage tumors, a significant increase in the proportion of stage 0a and a significant decrease in the proportion of stage I tumors for each cancer site was seen between 1993 and 2005. The proportion of high grade tumors in each disease site significantly increased from 1993 to 2005. For cases diagnosed in 1993-1996 and 1997-2000, a significant decrease in 5-year relative survival was observed for patients with stage I and stage II bladder cancer. The absolute change, however, was relatively small, and for bladder cases was not significantly different when adjusted for low or high grade tumors.


When differentiating between early and late stage tumors, a slight stage migration was seen in renal pelvis and ureteral carcinomas, whereas no stage migration was seen in bladder tumors. Within early stage tumors of all sites, a stage shift was seen, most notably with the proportion of stage 0a tumors increasing and stage I tumors decreasing. The proportion of high grade tumors in all sites increased. No change in overall survival was observed, underscoring the need for new therapeutic advances.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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