Purpose: The current study evaluated lymph node staging and the outcome in patients with lymph node positive bladder cancer after radical cystectomy.
Materials and methods: A total of 162 patients with lymph node positive bladder cancer were followed a median of 7.5 years after radical cystectomy and pelvic lymph node dissection for survival and local recurrence. Lymph node disease was stratified by pN stage, the number of positive lymph nodes and the number of positive lymph nodes in relation to the number removed (ratio based pN stage).
Results: A median of 13 lymph nodes (range 2 to 32) was examined, showing an average of 3.3 positive lymph nodes per specimen. An increased number of lymph nodes correlated with the identification of lymph node positive cases. The ratio of the number of positive-to-total number of lymph nodes removed better defined surgical outcome than conventional lymph node staging.
Conclusions: Ratio based lymph node staging, which reflects the number of lymph nodes examined and the quality of lymph node dissection, was a significant prognostic variable for survival and local control in patients with lymph node positive bladder cancer after radical cystectomy.