Objectives: We investigated to what extent biopsies of normal-appearing urothelium taken from patients with Ta,T1 bladder cancer showed malignant disease: carcinoma in situ, or papillary tumor. We also investigated biopsies underlying the papillary tumor, adjacent to the tumor, and from suspicious-appearing mucosa.
Methods: In EORTC protocol 30863 (low-risk tumors), 393 patients underwent a biopsy of normal-appearing urothelium. In protocol 30911 (intermediate- and high-risk tumors), multiple biopsies were taken from normal- appearing urothelium in 602 patients.
Results: No abnormalities were found in the random biopsies of 376 (95.6%) patients with low-risk tumors and in 532 (88.4%) patients with intermediate- and high-risk tumors. Six (1.5%) patients with low-risk tumors and at least 21 (3.5%) patients with higher-risk tumors showed carcinoma in situ in their random biopsies. None of the patients in the low-risk group and 1 (0.2%) patient in higher-risk group had an invasive tumor (T2).
Conclusions: This analysis indicates that biopsies of normal-appearing urothelium in Ta,T1 bladder cancer patients show no abnormalities in about 90% of the patients. Performing such biopsies does not contribute to the staging or to the choice of adjuvant therapy after transurethral resection.