Extended lymphadenectomy in bladder cancer

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Radical cystectomy with pelvic lymph node dissection (PLND) is the preferred treatment for invasive bladder cancer. It not only results in the best disease-free term survival rates, but also provides the most accurate disease staging and most effective local symptom control. Recent investigations have demonstrated a clinical benefit to performance of an extended PLND, including all lymphatic tissue to the level of the aortic bifurcation. This review will summarize recent findings regarding the clinical benefits of radical cystectomy with extended lymphadenectomy, and will also examine the latest surgical techniques for optimizing the performance of this technically demanding procedure.

Recent findings

Recent studies have demonstrated increased recurrence-free survival and overall survival rates in patients undergoing radical cystectomy with extended PLND, even in cases of pathologically lymph node negative disease. The growing use of minimally invasive techniques has prompted interest in robotic radical cystectomy and extended PLND, and recent reports have demonstrated the feasibility of this technique. The standardization of extended PLND templates has also been a focus of contemporary research.

Summary

Contemporary research strongly suggests that all patients undergoing radical cystectomy for bladder cancer should undergo concomitant extended PLND. Randomized trials are still needed to confirm the benefits of extended over ‘standard’ PLND, and to clarify which patients may receive the greatest benefit from this procedure.

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