Effect of Allogeneic Intraoperative Blood Transfusion on Survival in Patients Treated With Radical Cystectomy for Nonmetastatic Bladder Cancer: Results From a Single High-Volume Institution

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Transfusion has been related to poor survival after surgery in several cancers. Recently, timing of transfusion has been proposed as crucial in the determination of poor survival expectanies after surgery, in fact, intraoperative but not postoperative transfusion were found to be related. We confirmed these findings in patients who underwent radical cystectomy because of bladder cancer; physicians should avoid use of transfusion intraoperatively.


Previous studies have demonstrated that perioperative blood transfusion (BT) is associated with a significantly increased risk of cancer recurrence and mortality after radical cystectomy (RC). Recently, it was shown for the first time that intraoperative transfusion has a detrimental effect on cancer survival. The aim of the current study was to validate this finding in a single European institution.

Patients and Methods:

The study focused on 1490 consecutive nonmetastatic bladder cancer patients treated with RC at a single tertiary care referral center between January 1990 and August 2013. Kaplan–Meier analyses and Cox regression analyses were used to assess the effect of timing of BT administration (no transfusion vs. intraoperative transfusion vs. postoperative transfusion vs. intraoperative and postoperative transfusion) on cancer-specific mortality (CSM), overall mortality (OM), and disease recurrence.


Mean age at the time of RC was 67 years. Overall, 322 (21.6%) patients received intraoperative BT and 97 (6.5%) received postoperative BT. At a mean follow-up time of 125 months (median, 110 months), the 5- and 10-year CSM rate was 846 (58%) and 715 (48%), respectively. In multivariable analyses patients who received intraoperative BT had greater risk of disease recurrence (hazard ratio [HR], 1.24; P < .04), CSM (HR, 1.60; P < .02), and OM (HR, 1.45; P < .03). Conversely, this effect disappears with postoperative BT (all P > .2).


Our study confirms that intraoperative, but not postoperative BT, are related to a detrimental effect on survival after RC. These results should be take into account by physicians to administer BT using the correct timing.

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