We evaluated the presentation, methods of diagnosis and treatment of pelvic recurrence following radical cystectomy for transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder.Materials and Methods
We reviewed the records of 33 patients who underwent radical cystectomy for transitional cell carcinoma between May 1960 and August 1995 at our cancer center and who later had pelvic recurrence.Results
The majority of patients underwent cystectomy for clinically advanced transitional cell carcinoma. Median time from cystectomy to recurrence was 10 months. Of the patients 25 were symptomatic (76%) at the time recurrence was diagnosed. Recurrence was discovered by digital rectal examination in 4 asymptomatic patients (12%) and by routine pelvic imaging in 2. Treatment included chemotherapy, surgery or radiation (alone or in combination). Of the 33 patients 29 died of progressive disease with a median survival of 7 months from the time of recurrence, and 4 remained free of disease at 7, 14, 26 and 95 months after local recurrence. Despite the poor survival rate following treatment 11 of 14 patients had complete resolution of symptoms following chemotherapy.Conclusions
The prognosis of patients with local recurrence is poor regardless of therapy. These recurrences are often symptomatic but careful post-cystectomy tumor surveillance, including digital rectal examination and pelvic imaging, provides an opportunity to diagnose local recurrences when they may be amenable to therapy. Systemic chemotherapy offers excellent palliation for symptomatic patients.