Novel endoscopic visualization techniques for bladder cancer detection: a review of the contemporary literature

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Purpose of review

To describe the principles of photodynamic diagnosis (PDD), narrow-band imaging (NBI) and Storz Professional Image Enhancement System (SPIES) techniques for the endoscopic management of nonmuscle-invasive bladder cancer (BCa) and to report their impact on clinical practice.

Recent findings

PDD is associated with an increased sensitivity for detecting BCa specifically carcinoma in situ (CIS). Moreover, PDD has been shown to lower recurrence rate in comparison with white-light cystoscopy. The impact on progression-free survival is still unclear yet. NBI and, more recently, SPIES are two novel imaging techniques that do not require preoperative instillation of photosensitizing agents. NBI seems to be associated with lower recurrence rates. Nevertheless, further trials are necessary to confirm these results, in particular in high-risk lesions and CIS. Randomized clinical trials addressing the clinical impact of SPIES are ongoing.


Novel endoscopic imaging techniques are useful diagnostic tools for evaluating BCa during cystoscopic diagnostic surveillance as well as during transurethral resection of the bladder. Although the standard of care remains white-light cystoscopy, these techniques provide higher sensitivity in detecting BCa especially CIS. The continued evidence also suggests that this increased detection leads to lower recurrence rates. The impact on progression and the cost-efficacy as well as selection remains to be refined.

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