Does it matter whether a T1 high-grade tumor is molecularly classified?

A 58-yr-old male, 20 pack-year smoker, with hypertension was diagnosed with a single left-side high-grade papillary tumor with peritumoral carcinoma in situ, but no tumor was visible outside the bladder. En bloc resection was performed, and repeat transurethral resection of the bladder at 4 wk found no residual tumor. He was prescribed bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) plus maintenance therapy, and cystoscopy at 9 mo found a T1b high-grade tumor, this time right sided. Is it important that the tumor should be molecularly characterized before a treatment decision is made, or is clinicopathologic characterization still the only viable option at this time? PATIENT SUMMARY: We discussed how new methods in pathology may help us find molecular structures that would help clinicians decide safely between cystectomy and conservative bladder-sparing strategies. The primary superficially infiltrative tumor and its similar recurrence 9 mo later were categorized based on standard clinical criteria, but here we discuss whether recently discovered methods for defining the molecular structure of tumors could mean that more bladder-preserving treatments might be an option.

European urology oncology. 2019 Aug 02 [Epub ahead of print]

Arnulf Stenzl, David McConkey, Joaquim Bellmunt

Department of Urology, University of Tübingen Medical School, Tübingen, Germany. Electronic address: ., Johns Hopkins Greenberg Bladder Cancer Institute, Johns Hopkins Medical School, Baltimore, MD, USA., Department of Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA.