Bladder urothelial carcinoma extending to rectal mucosa and presenting with rectal bleeding

World J Gastrointest Endosc. 2017 Jun 16;9(6):282-295. doi: 10.4253/wjge.v9.i6.282.


An 87-year-old-man with prostate-cancer-stage-T1c-Gleason-6 treated with radiotherapy in 1996, recurrent prostate cancer treated with leuprolide hormonal therapy in 2009, and bladder-urothelial-carcinoma in situ treated with Bacillus-Calmette-Guerin and adriamycin in 2010, presented in 2015 with painless, bright red blood per rectum coating stools daily for 5 mo. Rectal examination revealed bright red blood per rectum; and a hard, fixed, 2.5 cm × 2.5 cm mass at the normal prostate location. The hemoglobin was 7.6 g/dL (iron saturation = 8.4%, indicating iron-deficiency-anemia). Abdominopelvic-CT-angiography revealed focal wall thickening at the bladder neck; a mass containing an air cavity replacing the normal prostate; and adjacent rectal invasion. Colonoscopy demonstrated an ulcerated, oozing, multinodular, friable, 2.5 cm × 2.5 cm mass in anterior rectal wall, at the usual prostate location. Histologic and immunohistochemical analysis of colonoscopic biopsies of the mass revealed poorly-differentiated-carcinoma of urothelial origin. At visceral angiography, the right-superior-rectal-artery was embolized to achieve hemostasis. The patient subsequently developed multiple new metastases and expired 13 mo post-embolization. Comprehensive literature review revealed 16 previously reported cases of rectal involvement from bladder urothelial carcinoma, including 11 cases from direct extension and 5 cases from metastases. Patient age averaged 63.7 ± 9.6 years (all patients male). Rectal involvement was diagnosed on average 13.5 ± 11.8 mo after initial diagnosis of bladder urothelial carcinoma. Symptoms included constipation/gastrointestinal obstruction-6, weight loss-5, diarrhea-3, anorexia-3, pencil thin stools-3, tenesmus-2, anorectal pain-2, and other-5. Rectal examination in 9 patients revealed annular rectal constriction-6, and rectal mass-3. The current patient had the novel presentation of daily bright red blood per rectum coating the stools simulating hemorrhoidal bleeding; the novel mechanism of direct bladder urothelial carcinoma extension into rectal mucosa via the prostate; and the novel aforementioned colonoscopic findings underlying the clinical presentation.

Keywords: Bladder cancer; Cancer spread; Colonoscopy; Lower gastrointestinal bleeding; Rectum penetration; Transitional cell; Uroepitheilal; Urothelial.

Publication types

  • Case Reports