Impact of Intra- and Postoperative Blood Transfusion on the Incidence, Timing, and Pattern of Disease Recurrence After Radical Cystectomy

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The administration of blood transfusion (BT) has been associated with a decrease in survival expectancies in patients treated with radical cystectomy (RC), as a consequence of the immunosuppressive effect mediated by BT. We sought therefore to evaluate if the usage of BT may influence the risk and pattern location of distant recurrences after RC, which may be influenced by this effect.


Data from 2 independent cohorts of consecutive patients with bladder cancer treated with RC were analyzed. Distant recurrence included all recurrence locations outside of the true pelvis, such as lung, liver, bone, extra pelvic lymph nodes, peritoneal, or brain recurrences. Cox regression analyses evaluating the risk of developing distant recurrence after RC were built.


In the testing cohort, composed of 1081 patients, 41.2% received a perioperative BT. Within a median follow-up of 52 months (interquartile range, 44-61 months), 277 (25.6%) patients experienced a distant recurrence. In the validation cohort, composed of 433 patients, 42.3% received perioperative BT within a median follow-up of 83 months, and 127 (28.3%) patients experienced distant recurrence. On multivariable analyses predicting distant recurrences, BT was not associated with the risk of distant recurrence stratified by location and time (within first year or later after RC; all P ≥ .2) in both cohorts.


BT administration was not associated with a different pattern, timing, or rate of distant recurrences in patients when compared with those who did not receive BT. New data are needed to investigate the mechanisms behind the association between BT and survival in RC patients.


Blood transfusion (BT) has been found to be related to worse survival outcomes in patients treated with many major urologic and nonurologic surgeries. The immunosuppressive effect of BT was advocated to explain this effect. We evaluated here the pattern and incidence of recurrence after radical cystectomy (RC), stratifying according to BT. We found that no difference in pattern and incidence in recurrence after RC was evident for patients with BT when compared with those who did not receive BT. New high quality data are required to explain the association between BT and survival in RC patients described in previous literature.

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