A comparison of hexaminolevulinate fluorescence cystoscopy and white light cystoscopy for the detection of carcinoma in situ in patients with bladder cancer: a phase III, multicenter study

J Urol. 2007 Jul;178(1):68-73; discussion 73. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2007.03.028. Epub 2007 May 11.


Purpose: We compared hexaminolevulinate (Hexvix) fluorescence cystoscopy with white light cystoscopy for detecting carcinoma in situ.

Materials and methods: In this multicenter study 298 patients with known or suspected bladder cancer underwent bladder instillation with 50 ml 8 mM hexaminolevulinate for 1 hour. Cystoscopy was then performed, first using standard white light and then hexaminolevulinate fluorescence cystoscopy. Lesions or suspicious areas identified under the 2 illumination conditions were mapped and biopsied for histological examination. In addition, 1 directed biopsy was obtained from an area appearing to be normal.

Results: Of 196 evaluable patients 29.6% (58 of 196) had carcinoma in situ, including 18 with carcinoma in situ alone, and 35 with carcinoma in situ and concomitant papillary disease, which was only detected on random biopsy in 5. Of the 18 patients with no concomitant papillary disease carcinoma in situ was detected only by hexaminolevulinate fluorescence in 4 and only by white light in 4. In the group with concomitant papillary disease carcinoma in situ was found only by hexaminolevulinate fluorescence in 5 patients and only by white light in 3. The proportion of patients in whom 1 or more carcinoma in situ lesions were found only by hexaminolevulinate cystoscopy was greater than the hypothesized 5% (p=0.0022). Overall more carcinoma in situ lesions were found by hexaminolevulinate than by white light cystoscopy in 22 of 58 patients (41.5%), while the converse occurred in 8 of 58 (15.1%). Biopsy results confirmed cystoscopy findings. Of a total of 113 carcinoma in situ lesions in 58 patients 104 (92%) were detected by hexaminolevulinate cystoscopy and 77 (68%) were detected by white light cystoscopy, while 5 were detected only on directed visually normal mucosal biopsy. Hexaminolevulinate instillation was well tolerated with no local or systemic side effects.

Conclusions: In patients with bladder cancer hexaminolevulinate fluorescence cystoscopy with blue light can diagnose carcinoma in situ that may be missed with white light cystoscopy. Hexaminolevulinate fluorescence cystoscopy can be used in conjunction with white light cystoscopy to aid in the diagnosis of this form of bladder cancer.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aminolevulinic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Carbon Radioisotopes*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / diagnosis*
  • Cystoscopy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / diagnosis*


  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Aminolevulinic Acid
  • 5-aminolevulinic acid hexyl ester