Asymptomatic recurrence detection and cost-effectiveness in urothelial carcinoma

For the management of muscle-invasive bladder cancer or upper tract urothelial carcinoma, the set guidelines recommend regular surveillance after radical cystectomy or radical nephroureterectomy. However, the prognostic benefit of regular oncological surveillance remains controversial in the absence of prospective studies although several retrospective studies with relatively large sample sizes have demonstrated the association between asymptomatic recurrence and better oncological outcomes.

Seven out of eight studies reported that patients diagnosed with symptomatic recurrence showed significantly poorer prognosis in comparison to those diagnosed with asymptomatic recurrence. However, potential lead-time and length-time biases prevent the determination of any benefit of regular surveillance. In addition, an optimal surveillance protocol has yet to be established because conventional pathology-based protocols cannot identify the heterogenetic tumor biology of urothelial carcinoma, such as rapid- or slow-growing form of the disease. Several studies suggest that conventional pathology-based surveillance resulted in reduced cost-effectiveness. Recurrence risk-score stratified surveillance protocol including clinical and pathological factors may improve cost-effectiveness. The establishment of optimal risk stratification and surveillance strategies are required to improve the efficacy of regular oncological surveillance. Well-planned prospective studies are necessary to address the prognostic benefit of regular oncological surveillance and shared decision making.

Medical oncology (Northwood, London, England). 2018 May 09*** epublish ***

Hiromichi Iwamura, Shingo Hatakeyama, Makoto Sato, Chikara Ohyama

Department of Urology, Hirosaki University Graduate School of Medicine, 5 Zaifu-cho, Hirosak, 036-8562, Japan., Department of Urology, Hirosaki University Graduate School of Medicine, 5 Zaifu-cho, Hirosak, 036-8562, Japan. ., Department of Urology, Tohoku Medical and Pharmaceutical University, 1-15-1 Fukumuro, Sendai, 983-8536, Japan.

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