Men are at a higher risk of developing bladder cancer, but women present with more advanced disease and have more unfavourable outcomes. Although epidemiologic and genetical studies have underlined the multifactorial aetiology and gender-related differences of bladder cancer, there is lack of evidence-based recommendation for gender-specific management of bladder cancer. We summarize the evidence and most recent findings on gender-specific differences in bladder cancer incidence, diagnosis, treatment and outcome, spotlighting the gender disparities in genetic and hormonal risk factors, pelvic anatomy, diagnostic setting and surgical choices. We reviewed the literature published on PubMed between 1981 and 2018. Males have a threefold to fourfold higher risk of bladder cancer as compared to females; however, women have higher stage-for-stage mortality, being diagnosed with more advanced disease, mostly due to a delay in haematuria evaluation. Numerous studies indicate an increased risk of disease recurrence or progression in women with non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer treated with trans-urethral resection, with or without intravesical chemotherapy or immunotherapy, compared to males. In particular, recent molecular evidence show that there is an excess of female Ta mutant tumours. At the time of radical cystectomy, women have a significantly longer length of hospital stay, operative time, higher blood loss and higher 90-day mortality and perioperative complication rate. Moreover, females are less likely to receive a continent diversion. Future research should guarantee greater inclusion of women in trials and focus on improving the effectiveness of therapies in women, perhaps exploring different therapeutic approaches in men and women. Specific data on functional and oncological outcomes can be analysed to define predictive factors able to guide the surgeon in decisions based on evidence. It is urgently needed to limit gender-related discrepancies in early diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer. Public awareness and bladder cancer female patients' consciousness on gender inequalities must be similarly uprisen.
Urologia. 2019 Dec 23 [Epub ahead of print]
Mariangela Mancini, Marialaura Righetto, Giovannella Baggio
Urological Clinic, Department of Surgical, Oncological and Gastroenterological Sciences and School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Padova, Padova, Italy., Department of Medicine (DIMED) and School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.