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European UrologyVolume 58, issue 4, pages e39-e50, October 2010
Do Patients Benefit from Routine Follow-up to Detect Recurrences After Radical Cystectomy and Ileal Orthotopic Bladder Substitution?
Accepted 25 May 2010, Published online 4 June 2010, pages 486 - 494
The need for and intensity of follow-up to detect disease recurrence after radical cystectomy (RC) for transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) remains a matter for debate.
To determine whether diagnosis of asymptomatic recurrence after RC by routine follow-up investigations confers a survival benefit versus symptomatic recurrence.
Design, setting, and participants
Retrospective analysis of 479 patients with nonmetastatic bladder TCC receiving no neoadjuvant chemotherapy/radiation therapy and prospectively followed with a standardised protocol for a median 4.3 yr (range: 0.3–20.9) after RC at an academic tertiary referral centre.
RC and extended pelvic lymph node dissection with ileal orthotopic bladder substitution.
Cancer-specific survival (CSS) and overall survival (OS) probability for asymptomatic and symptomatic recurrent patients were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. The effects of age, nerve-sparing surgery, pathologic tumour stage, lymph node status, adjuvant chemotherapy, mode of recurrence diagnosis, and recurrence site on survival were assessed with multivariable Cox regression models.
Results and limitations
Of the 174 of 479 patients (36.3%) with tumour recurrence, 87 were diagnosed by routine follow-up investigations and 87 by symptoms. Routine follow-up mostly detected lung metastases and urethral recurrences, while symptoms were predominantly the result of bone metastases and concomitant pelvic/distant recurrences. Of 24 patients with urethral recurrences, 13 had carcinoma in situ (CIS). Of these, 12 were successfully managed with urethra-sparing treatment, and 6 are still alive with no evidence of disease. Most other recurrent long-term survivors had lung and extrapelvic lymph node metastases. Cumulative 5-yr survival rates of the entire cohort were 69.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 65.5–74.3%) for CSS and 61.9% (95% CI, 57.4–66.7%) for OS. In multivariable analysis, mode of recurrence diagnosis and site of initial recurrence were the only independent predictors of CSS and OS. Patients with recurrences detected by routine follow-up investigations and with secondary urothelial tumours as site of recurrence had a slightly but significantly higher survival probability.
Patients diagnosed with asymptomatic recurrences during our routine follow-up after RC had a slightly higher survival than patients with symptomatic recurrences. Routine follow-up appears particularly effective in early detection of urethral CIS, which can be treated conservatively. In addition, the predominance of lung and extrapelvic lymph node metastases in survivors may justify the use of routine cross-sectional imaging.
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