Recent advances in pediatric bladder malignancies

F1000Res. 2020 Feb 25:9:F1000 Faculty Rev-147. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.19396.1. eCollection 2020.


Urothelial pediatric neoplasms are relatively rare. Papillary urothelial neoplasms of low malignant potential (PUNLMPs) and rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) are the most common bladder malignancies in the pediatric population. Clinical presentation encompasses macroscopic hematuria or lower urinary tract symptoms (or both) or is detected incidentally at imaging. Tumors arising from the bladder can originate from any of its four histological layers (urothelium, lamina propria, detrusor, and adventitia) and are divided into tumors that have an epithelial origin (arising from the urothelium) and those that have a non-epithelial origin (mesenchymal neoplasms). RMS is the most common malignant tumor of the urinary bladder in children younger than 10 years. Deriving from the embryonic mesenchymal cell, the histopathologic subtypes of RMS are embryonal RMS (>90%) and alveolar histology (<10%). Pre-treatment imaging should be carried out by computed tomography (CT) or at present is more likely with magnetic resonance imaging of the pelvis. Chest CT and bone scintigraphy are used to screen for metastases. In selected cases, a positron emission tomography scan may be recommended to evaluate suspicious lesions. The current prognostic classification considers age, histologic subtype, tumor site, size, and extent (nodal or distant metastases). Staging is based on pre-operative findings, group is based on intra-operative findings and pathology, and risk stratification is derived from both stage and group data. Pre-operative chemotherapy is the most common first-line intervention for bladder/prostate RMS, before surgery or radiation therapy. Collaborative groups such as the Soft Tissue Sarcoma Committee of the Children's Oncology Group and the European Pediatric Soft Tissue Sarcoma Study Group endorse this therapy. PUNLMPs are generally solitary, small (1-2 cm), non-invasive lesions that do not metastasize. Therapy is usually limited to a transurethral resection of the bladder tumor. About 35% are recurrent and around 10% of them increase in size if they are not treated.


Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms*