Objectives: We compared clinical and pathologic staging in a large, contemporary, consecutive series of patients who were treated with radical cystectomy and pelvic lymphadenectomy, and determined the effect of stage discrepancy on outcomes. Methods: We collected retrospective data from 778 consecutive patients with bladder transitional cell carcinoma who were treated with radical cystectomy and pelvic lymphadenectomy, and for whom the clinical and pathologic stage were available. Results: Pathologic upstaging occurred in 42% of patients, and pathologic downstaging occurred in 22%. Forty percent of patients with non-muscle-invasive clinical stage had muscle-invasive pathologic stage. Thirty-six percent of patients with organ-confined clinical stage had non-organ-confined pathologic stage (≥pT3N0 or pTanyN-positive). Patients with higher clinical stage were more likely to be upstaged to non-organ-confined disease (p < 0.001). Patients were stratified into three groups: pathologically upstaged, same clinical and pathologic stage, and pathologically downstaged. When adjusted for the effects of standard postoperative features, upstaged patients were at a significantly higher risk of disease recurrence and bladder cancer-specific death than patients who had the same pathologic and clinical stage, who in turn were at significantly higher risk than downstaged patients. This observation remained true within each clinical stage strata. Within each pathologic stage strata, clinical stage did not substratify into different risk groups. Conclusions: Clinical to pathologic stage discrepancy is a relatively common finding after extirpative surgery for bladder cancer. Clinical outcomes after radical cystectomy are largely driven by pathologic stage. Better clinical staging is necessary to improve patient evaluation and management.
- Bladder cancer
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