Micropapillary bladder cancer: a review of the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center experience with 100 consecutive patients

Cancer. 2007 Jul 1;110(1):62-7. doi: 10.1002/cncr.22756.


Background: Micropapillary bladder carcinoma is a rare variant of urothelial carcinoma. To improve understanding of this disease, the authors performed a retrospective review of their experience.

Methods: The authors reviewed the records of 100 consecutive patients with micropapillary bladder cancer who were evaluated at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Results: The mean age of the patients was 64.7 years, with a male:female ratio of 10:1. The TNM stage of disease at the time of presentation was Ta in 5 patients, carcinoma in situ (CIS) in 4 patients, T1 in 35 patients, T2 in 26 patients, T3 in 7 patients, T4 in 6 patients; N+ in 9 patients, and M+ in 8 patients. Kaplan-Meier estimates of 5-year and 10-year overall survival (OS) rates were 51% and 24%, respectively. Bladder-sparing therapy with intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guerin therapy was attempted in 27 of 44 patients with nonmuscle-invasive disease; 67% (18 patients) developed disease progression (>or=cT2), including 22% who developed metastatic disease. Of 55 patients undergoing radical cystectomy for surgically resectable disease (<or=cT4a), 23 received neoadjuvant chemotherapy and 32 were treated with initial cystectomy, with no significant difference noted in stage distribution between the 2 groups. For the 23 patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy, the median OS was 43.2 months with 32% of patients still alive at 5 years. For the 32 patients treated with initial cystectomy, the median survival had not been reached at the time of last follow-up, with 71% still alive at 5 years.

Conclusions: Micropapillary bladder cancer is associated with a poor prognosis. Intravesical therapy appears to be ineffective in this disease and patients with surgically resectable disease should be offered early radical cystectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / surgery
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cystectomy / methods
  • Female
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy / methods
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Texas
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / surgery