Effect of Stage Migration on Bladder Cancer: A Slow but Steady Improvement in Long-Term Survival Rates After Radical Cystectomy in Previous 25 Years

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Few data exist on stage migration in bladder cancer and trends in survival after radical cystectomy. We evaluated the changes in clinical, pathologic, and oncologic outcomes for patients treated with radical cystectomy for bladder cancer. In context, the body mass index and the presence of carcinoma in situ increased over the years and stage pT3-T4 bladder cancer disease decreased. An improvement in overall survival was reported for patients treated in recent years compared with historical controls.


We evaluated the effect of the year of surgery on the clinical, pathologic, and oncologic outcomes of patients with bladder cancer (BCa) treated with radical cystectomy (RC) at a single institution.

Materials and Methods:

The present study included 1253 consecutive patients with BCa treated with RC and extended pelvic lymphadenectomy at a single institution from January 1990 to December 2014. Analysis of variance and χ2 trend tests were used to report the clinical and pathologic characteristics of the cohort over time. Multivariable Cox regression analysis was used to test the relationship between the year of surgery and recurrence, cancer-specific mortality (CSM) and overall mortality (OM).


Considering the clinical characteristics, patient age (P = .1) and gender (P = .2) remained steady during the study period. In contrast, the body mass index (P < .005) increased. Also, of the pathologic features, carcinoma in situ detection (P < .001) showed an increasing rate, and pathologic stage T3-T4 (P = .005) showed a decreasing trend. The number of lymph nodes removed increased during the study period (P < .001), resulting in an increased number of positive nodes (P < .001). However, the rate of lymph node invasion (P = .1) remained stable in the overall population. Multivariable Cox regression analyses revealed the year of surgery as a predictor of recurrence (hazard ratio [HR], 0.97), CSM (HR, 0.97), and OM (HR, 0.98), with a slight, but constant, reduction in all survival outcomes (P < .04 for all).


Changes were recorded considering the patient and tumor characteristics across the previous 25 years. These variations directly reflect the differences in long-term survival expectations we recorded.

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