Isolated Red Patches Seen During Endoscopic Surveillance of Bladder Cancer: Incidence of Malignancy and When Should We Biopsy?

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To establish whether the regular biopsy of red patches (RPs) seen during endoscopic surveillance for bladder cancer is worthwhile and determine a suitable time frame for repeat biopsy of prior histologically benign persistent RPs in patients on endoscopic surveillance for bladder cancer.

PATIENTS AND METHODS

Four thousand eight hundred five flexible cystoscopy (FC) reports over a 12-month period were retrospectively reviewed at a United Kingdom tertiary teaching hospital and those undergoing cystoscopic surveillance for bladder cancer and found to have solitary RPs at FC were included in the study. A proportion of these cases had biopsies taken for histopathologic analysis.

RESULTS

Two hundred forty-one FC performed on 183 patients on endoscopic surveillance for bladder cancer had RPs and 120 (49.8%) of them had previous intravesical Bacillus Calmette-Guerin therapy. Eighty-five patients (35.3%) underwent biopsy of the RP. Malignancy was found in 20 biopsies (23.5%), of which, 11 out of 20 (55%) were carcinoma in-situ. Sixteen of these recurrences were biopsied previously, of which 11 (68.8%) were benign at last biopsy, 6 of which were in the last 12 months. The remaining four recurrences had no previous biopsy. No cases of malignancy were identified in patients with low-risk bladder cancer.

CONCLUSION

We recommend the biopsy of all RPs found during endoscopic surveillance of patients with intermediate-/high-risk bladder cancer due to the significant incidence of malignant recurrence identified, particularly if no biopsy has been performed within the previous 12 months. This is independent of previous biopsy histology.

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