Role of routine transurethral biopsy and isolated upper tract cytology after intravesical treatment of high-grade non-muscle invasive bladder cancer

Int J Urol. 2012 Nov;19(11):988-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-2042.2012.03089.x. Epub 2012 Jul 4.


Objectives: To investigate whether random bladder, and prostatic urethral biopsies and individual upper tract cytologies (restaging) provide useful clinical information in addition to cystoscopy and bladder cytology in assessing initial intravesical therapy response for high-grade non-muscle invasive bladder cancer.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed records of all patients who underwent restaging at our institution after treatment for high-grade non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (Ta, T1 and Tis) between January 2000 and October 2009. A total of 78 patients undergoing 116 consecutive restagings were included. The presence of intravesical cancer at restaging was assessed by cystoscopy, bladder wash cytology and random bladder biopsies, whereas ureteral and prostatic urethral disease was determined using upper tract barbotage cytology and prostatic urethral biopsies.

Results: Indication for intravesical treatment was carcinoma in situ in 86, high-grade T1 in 16 and high-grade Ta in 14 cases. A total of 48 patients had primary disease and 68 had recurrence. Overall, 59 of 116 (50.9%) restagings showed positive bladder or prostatic biopsy and/or a positive cytology localized to the upper tract. Of the total number of recurrences, 12.9% (15 of 116) showed a negative cystoscopy and negative bladder cytology, and would have been missed on routine surveillance. A total of 23 of 116 (19.8%) restagings showed evidence of prostatic urethral and or ureteral disease.

Conclusion: Roughly 25% of high-grade non-muscle invasive bladder cancer early recurrences after induction intravesical therapy would go unnoticed without the addition of random and directed prostate biopsies, and isolated upper tract cytologies to standard cystoscopy and bladder cytology.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravesical
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy / methods*
  • Cystoscopy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urethra / pathology*
  • Urinary Bladder / pathology*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology*