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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2014 Apr 1;88(5):1048-56. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2014.01.001.

Clinical-pathologic stage discrepancy in bladder cancer patients treated with radical cystectomy: results from the national cancer data base.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Harvard Radiation Oncology Program, Boston, Massachusetts.
Surveillance and Health Services Research Program, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Georgia.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
Division of Urology, Brigham and Women's Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts.
Genitourinary Oncology Service, Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York.
Division of Surgery, Department of Urology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.
Department of Health Policy and Management, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.
Department of Urology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. Electronic address:



To examine the accuracy of clinical staging and its effects on outcome in bladder cancer (BC) patients treated with radical cystectomy (RC), using a large national database.


A total of 16,953 patients with BC without distant metastases treated with RC from 1998 to 2009 were analyzed. Factors associated with clinical-pathologic stage discrepancy were assessed by multivariate generalized estimating equation models. Survival analysis was conducted for patients treated between 1998 and 2004 (n=7270) using the Kaplan-Meier method and Cox proportional hazards models.


At RC 41.9% of patients were upstaged, whereas 5.9% were downstaged. Upstaging was more common in females, the elderly, and in patients who underwent a more extensive lymphadenectomy. Downstaging was less common in patients treated at community centers, in the elderly, and in Hispanics. Receipt of preoperative chemotherapy was highly associated with downstaging. Five-year overall survival rates for patients with clinical stages 0, I, II, III, and IV were 67.2%, 62.9%, 50.4%, 36.9%, and 27.2%, respectively, whereas those for the same pathologic stages were 70.8%, 75.8%, 63.7%, 41.5%, and 24.7%, respectively. On multivariate analysis, upstaging was associated with increased 5-year mortality (hazard ratio [HR] 1.80, P<.001), but downstaging was not associated with survival (HR 0.88, P=.160). In contrast, more extensive lymphadenectomy was associated with decreased 5-year mortality (HR 0.76 for ≥10 lymph nodes examined, P<.001), as was treatment at an National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center (HR 0.90, P=.042).


Clinical-pathologic stage discrepancy in BC patients is remarkably common across the United States. These findings should be considered when selecting patients for preoperative or nonoperative management strategies and when comparing the outcomes of bladder sparing approaches to RC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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