Recurrence and progression of disease in non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer: from epidemiology to treatment strategy

Eur Urol. 2009 Sep;56(3):430-42. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2009.06.028. Epub 2009 Jun 26.


Context: This review focuses on the prediction of recurrence and progression in non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) and the treatments advocated for this disease.

Objective: To review the current status of epidemiology, recurrence, and progression of NMIBC and the state-of-the art treatment for this disease.

Evidence acquisition: A literature search in English was performed using PubMed and the guidelines of the European Association of Urology and the American Urological Association. Relevant papers on epidemiology, recurrence, progression, and management of NMIBC were selected. Special attention was given to fluorescent cystoscopy, the new World Health Organisation 2004 classification system for grade, and the role of substaging of T1 NMIBC.

Evidence synthesis: In NMIBC, approximately 70% of patients present as pTa, 20% as pT1, and 10% with carcinoma in situ (CIS) lesions. Bladder cancer (BCa) is the fifth most frequent type of cancer in western society and the most expensive cancer per patient. Recurrence (in < or = 80% of patients) is the main problem for pTa NMIBC patients, whereas progression (in < or = 45% of patients) is the main threat in pT1 and CIS NMIBC. In a recent European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer analysis, multiplicity, tumour size, and prior recurrence rate are the most important variables for recurrence. Tumour grade, stage, and CIS are the most important variables for progression. Treatment ranges from transurethral resection (TUR) followed by a single chemotherapy instillation in low-risk NMIBC to, sometimes, re-TUR and adjuvant intravesical therapy in intermediate- and high-risk patients to early cystectomy for treatment-refractory high-risk NMIBC.

Conclusions: NMIBC is a heterogeneous disease with varying therapies, follow-up strategies, and oncologic outcomes for an individual patient.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnosis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / epidemiology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / therapy*