Spinal Anesthesia is Associated with Lower Recurrence Rates after Resection of Nonmuscle Invasive Bladder Cancer

J Urol. 2018 Apr;199(4):940-946. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2017.11.064. Epub 2017 Nov 14.


Purpose: We sought to determine whether anesthetic type (general vs spinal) would influence cancer recurrence following transurethral resection of bladder tumors.

Materials and methods: With institutional ethics board approval we examined the electronic medical records of all patients who underwent transurethral bladder tumor resection for nonmuscle invasive urothelial bladder cancer between 2011 and 2013 at a single tertiary care center. Followup information was gathered on all patients in December 2016. The time to first cancer recurrence and the incidence of cancer recurrence were the main outcome measures.

Results: A total of 231 patients underwent 1 or more transurethral bladder tumor resections between 2011 and 2013. Of the 231 patients 135 received spinal anesthesia and 96 received general anesthesia. On univariable analysis the 135 patients who received spinal anesthesia had a longer median time to recurrence than the 96 who received general anesthesia (42.1 vs 17.2 months, p = 0.014). As anticipated, adjuvant therapies and risk category were associated with recurrence rates (p = 0.003 and 0.042, respectively). On multivariable analyses incorporating a priori variables of nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer risk stratification and postoperative therapies the patients who received general anesthesia had a higher incidence of recurrence (OR 2.06, 95% CI 1.14-3.74, p = 0.017) and an earlier time to recurrence (HR 1.57, 95% CI 1.13-2.19, p = 0.008) than those who received spinal anesthesia. Anesthetic type was not associated with cancer progression or overall mortality.

Conclusions: Patients who received spinal anesthesia had a lower incidence of recurrence and a delayed time to recurrence following transurethral bladder tumor resection for nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer. These findings should prompt large-scale prospective studies to confirm this association.

Keywords: anesthesia; general; local; margins of excision; neoplasm recurrence; spinal; urinary bladder neoplasms.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anesthesia, General / adverse effects*
  • Anesthesia, Spinal / adverse effects*
  • Cystectomy / methods*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / epidemiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / mortality
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Young Adult