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J Urol. 1993 Apr;149(4):758-64; discussion 764-5.

The rationale for en bloc pelvic lymph node dissection for bladder cancer patients with nodal metastases: long-term results.

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Department of Urology, Kenneth Norris Jr. Cancer Hospital and Research Institute, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.


From August 1971 through June 1989, 591 consecutive patients underwent curative pelvic lymphadenectomy with en bloc radical cystectomy for bladder cancer. Of these patients 132 (22%) had pathologically proved nodal metastases. The incidence of positive nodes increased with increasing pathological stage of the primary tumor: stage PIS (0.75%), stage P1 (13%), stage P2 (20%), stage P3a (24%), stage P3b (42%) and stage P4 (45%). The median followup for the 31 patients still alive was 5.5 years (range 2.6 to 18.8). Recurrent bladder cancer was documented in 89 patients (67%) with a median interval to progression of 1.5 years. Pelvic recurrence as the first site of progression was uncommon, occurring in 15 patients (11%). The actuarial 2, 3, 5 and 10-year survival rates were 55%, 38%, 29% and 20%, respectively. Increased risk of progression and death was associated with advanced pathological tumor stage (stage P3b or greater, p < 0.001 and p < 0.001, respectively) and 6 or more positive nodes (p < 0.001 and p = 0.012, respectively). There was no significant difference in survival and interval to progression among patients who received preoperative irradiation or adjuvant chemotherapy compared to those treated with surgery alone. This retrospective analysis further substantiates the philosophy that single stage pelvic lymphadenectomy with en bloc radical cystectomy can provide long-term progression-free survival, particularly for patients with localized primary tumors and minimal metastatic nodal disease.

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