Pathology of transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder and its clinical implications

Semin Surg Oncol. 1997 Sep-Oct;13(5):307-18. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1098-2388(199709/10)13:5<307::aid-ssu4>;2-h.


Transitional cell carcinomas are divided into superficial and muscle-invasive tumors. Most of them are superficial tumors, and approximately 15-20% are muscle-invasive carcinomas. Pathologists play a significant role in diagnosing bladder tumors and in reporting features important for determining prognosis. We will review the cytologic and histopathologic features that help determine prognosis, including depth of invasion, tumor grade, multicentricity, tumor size, and the presence of vascular/lymphatic invasion, blood group antigen expression, proliferative indices, and molecular markers. Brief mention will be made of specimen handling, interpretation, reporting, and histologic variants of transitional cell carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ABO Blood-Group System / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Blood Vessels / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / classification
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / pathology*
  • Cell Division
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Medical Records
  • Muscle, Smooth / pathology
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Specimen Handling
  • Urinary Bladder / pathology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology*


  • ABO Blood-Group System
  • Biomarkers, Tumor