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Bladder Cancer Health Center

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Bladder Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Stage I Bladder Cancer Treatment


Staging a bladder cancer via TUR is based on the extent of invasion. To assess whether cancer has invaded the muscle, muscularis propria must be present in the resected tissue. While a repeat TUR is generally considered mandatory for T1 and high-grade noninvasive bladder cancers if no muscularis propria is present in the resected tissue from the first TUR, many experts recommend that a second TUR be routinely performed within 2 to 6 weeks of the first TUR to confirm staging and achieve a more complete resection. The rationale for this derives from numerous findings, including the following:

  • The risk of local recurrence after TUR is high.
  • Residual cancer is often found when a repeat TUR is performed.
  • More-advanced-stage cancer is sometimes found with repeat TUR.
  • Patients undergoing radical cystectomy for nonmuscle-invasive bladder cancer are often found to have T2 or greater disease when the cystectomy specimen is examined.
  • A substantial number of patients with high-grade nonmuscle-invasive bladder cancer subsequently die from their disease.

Evidence (routine repeat TUR):

  1. A review of more than 2,400 patients from over 60 different institutions reported a 3-month recurrence rate of roughly 14% to 20% after TUR, while a literature review reported that up to 10% of patients who underwent a second TUR for Ta to T1 cancer were upstaged to T2.[9] The likelihood of being upstaged to T2 is much higher when no muscularis propria is present in the initial TUR tissue.[10]
  2. One retrospective series of 38 patients with Tis or Ta disease who underwent a second TUR found that nine patients (24%) had lamina propria invasion (T1) and three patients (8%) had muscle invasion (T2).[11]
  3. A subsequent study from a different institution reported that among 214 patients with Ta to T1 cancers who underwent a second TUR, 27% of Ta and 37% of T1 patients had residual cancer detected.[12]
  4. A review of other published papers reported that residual tumor was present in 27% to 62% of cases, and muscle-invasive disease was discovered in 1% to 10% of case series with at least 50 subjects.[10]
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