Platinum Priority – Bladder Cancer Editorial by Bertram Yuh, Kevin Chan, Clayton Lau and Timothy Wilson on pp. 406–407 of this issue| Volume 68, ISSUE 3, P399-405, September 01, 2015

Recurrence Patterns After Open and Robot-assisted Radical Cystectomy for Bladder Cancer



      Concerns remain whether robot-assisted radical cystectomy (RARC) compromises survival because of inadequate oncologic resection or alteration of recurrence patterns.


      To describe recurrence patterns following open radical cystectomy (ORC) and RARC.

      Design, setting, and participants

      Retrospective review of 383 consecutive patients who underwent ORC (n = 120) or RARC (n = 263) at an academic institution from July 2001 to February 2014.


      ORC and RARC.

      Outcome measurements and statistical analysis

      Recurrence-free survival estimates were illustrated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Recurrence patterns (local vs distant and anatomic locations) within 2 yr of surgery were tabulated. Cox regression models were built to evaluate the effect of surgical technique on the risk of recurrence.

      Results and limitations

      The median follow-up time for patients without recurrence was 30 mo (interquartile range [IQR] 5–72) for ORC and 23 mo (IQR 9–48) for RARC (p = 0.6). Within 2 yr of surgery, there was no large difference in the number of local recurrences between ORC and RARC patients (15/65 [23%] vs 24/136 [18%]), and the distribution of local recurrences was similar between the two groups. Similarly, the number of distant recurrences did not differ between the groups (26/73 [36%] vs 43/147 [29%]). However, there were distinct patterns of distant recurrence. Extrapelvic lymph node locations were more frequent for RARC than ORC (10/43 [23%] vs 4/26 [15%]). Furthermore, peritoneal carcinomatosis was found in 9/43 (21%) RARC patients compared to 2/26 (8%) ORC patients. In multivariable analyses, RARC was not a predictor of recurrence. Limitations of the study include selection bias and a limited sample size.


      Within limitations, we found that RARC is not an independent predictor of recurrence after surgery. Interestingly, extrapelvic lymph node locations and peritoneal carcinomatosis were more frequent in RARC than in ORC patients. Further validation is warranted to better understand the oncologic implications of RARC.

      Patient summary

      In this study, the locations of bladder cancer recurrences following conventional and robotic techniques for removal of the bladder are described. Although the numbers are small, the results show that the distribution of distant recurrences differs between the two techniques.


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