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BJU Int. 2011 Jul;108(1):31-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2010.09854.x. Epub 2010 Nov 24.

Bilharzial vs non-bilharzial related bladder cancer: pathological characteristics and value of cyclooxygenase-2 expression.

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  • 1Urology and Pathology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA.



• To assess the expression pattern of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in bilharzial and non-bilharzial related bladder cancer (BBC and NBBC) and its association with clinical outcome after radical cystectomy (RC). We also determined the clinico-pathological differences between BBC and NBBC.


• Immunohistochemical (IHC) staining for COX-2 was performed on archival bladder specimens from 315 patients treated with RC between 1997 and 2003. • Patients were divided into 2 groups: Group 1 comprised 205 patients (65%) with BBC and group 2 comprised 110 patients (35%) with NBBC. • Clinico-pathological differences were compared and altered IHC expression of COX-2 was correlated with clinical outcome in both groups.


• The study included 315 patients (239 males and 76 females) with median age 54 y (range 31-79) and median follow up of 63.2 months after RC. • There was significant difference in histological types, tumor stage, grade, and architecture and COX-2 alterations between both groups (P < 0.05). • BBC presented with lower grade, higher stage, and non-papillary non-urothelial carcinoma. COX-2 overexpression was associated with pathological T stage (P= 0.01), grade (P < 0.001) and lymphovascular invasion (LVI) (P= 0.041). • COX-2 expression was an independent predictor of disease recurrence (HR 1.9, CI 0.99-3.626 and P= 0.05) and cancer specific mortality (HR 2.8, CI 1.155-6.73 and P= 0.023) only in BBC but not in NBBC (HR 1.6, CI 0.598-4.364, P= 0.344 and HR 0.349, CI 0.076-1.595, P= 0.175, respectively).


• BBC differs pathologically and biologically from NBBC. BBCs present more frequently as low-grade, high stage non-papillary and non-urothelial cancers. BBCs with COX-2 alterations are associated with worse outcome after RC. • Our findings support the need for further evaluation of COX-2 and inflammatory signaling pathways as well as COX-2-targeted prevention and therapies in BC.

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