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PURPOSE - Previous reports have identified risk factors for urethral recurrence following radical cystectomy for transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). However, reports of the clinical presentation, treatment and outcome in these patients are lacking. We report our experience with the diagnosis, management and outcome of urethral TCC after radical cystectomy for bladder cancer.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - A database of 1,054 patients who underwent radical cystectomy and urinary diversion for TCC from 1971 to 1997 was retrospectively reviewed. All patients with urethral TCC after surgery were identified.
RESULTS - Urethral TCC was diagnosed in 47 men a median of 18.5 months (range 2 to 116) after cystectomy with 20 (42%) diagnosed within 1 year. Symptomatic recurrence developed in 24 of 42 evaluable patients (57%), 21 had bloody urethral discharge and 7 had pain or a palpable mass. A total of 13 patients (31%) were asymptomatic with abnormal cytology. The remaining 5 patients underwent prophylactic urethrectomy based on cystectomy pathology. Overall 41 patients underwent urethrectomy, which was total in 36 and distal with perineal urethrostomy in 5, including later conversion to total urethrectomy in 2. Overall at a median followup of 26 months (range 3 to 275) since diagnosis 36 of 47 patients (76%) were dead, including 25 of metastatic disease. Only 10 patients (21%) remained disease-free. Median overall survival in patients with urethral TCC after radical cystectomy was only 28 months after the diagnosis of urethral TCC. Urethral stage (superficial vs invasive disease) at diagnosis was the most import predictor of overall survival in this cohort of patients.
CONCLUSIONS - Most patients with urethral recurrence present with symptoms. However, screening cytology alone still detects a significant proportion. The median survival of patients with urethral TCC after radical cystectomy is only 28 months after diagnosis. Urethral stage (superficial vs invasive disease) at diagnosis is the most import predictor of overall survival in this cohort of patients.