Presence of lymph node (LN) metastasis in bladder cancer (BCa) is a main risk factor for tumor recurrence after radical cystectomy (RC). Molecular analysis facilitates detection of small-volume LN metastases with higher sensitivity than standard histopathology. The aim of the present study was to establish molecular LN analysis in BCa patients undergoing RC with lymph node dissection (LND) and to determine its ability to predict tumor recurrence.
Five transcripts with overexpression in BCa (FXYD3, KRT17, KRT20, SPINK1, UPKII) were evaluated for molecular LN analysis. We included 76 BCa patients from the prospective, randomized surgical phase-III trial (LEA AUO AB 25/02, NCT01215071) investigating extended vs. limited LND at RC. The primary endpoint was recurrence-free survival (RFS). As control, 136 LNs from 45 patients without BCa were analyzed to determine a threshold for pathologic gene expression.
About 1,319 LNs were investigated with molecular and histopathologic examination. Histopathology detected 39 LN metastases in 17 (22%) patients. Of the tested genes FXYD3 performed best and classified all pN+-patients correctly as node-positive (pN+/molN+). In addition, FXYD3 reclassified 43 histopathologic negative LNs and 7 (9%) pN0-patients as molecular node-positive (pN0/molN+). Molecular and histopathologic LN status (pN0/molN0 vs. pN0/molN+ vs. pN+/molN+) was significantly associated with locally advanced disease (P = 0.006) and poor RFS (P < 0.001). Median RFS was not reached in LN-negative patients (pN0/molN0), 45 months (95%CI 8-83) in exclusively molecular positive patients (pN0/molN+) and 9 months (95%CI 5-13) in patients with histopathologic and molecular positive LNs (pN+/molN+).
Molecular LN analysis with FXYD3 identified additional LN metastases in histopathologic negative LNs and identified patients with elevated risk of tumor recurrence after RC. Thus, molecular LN analysis improves LN staging and might serve as a tool to guide adjuvant treatment.
Urologic oncology. 2020 Mar 04 [Epub ahead of print]
Matthias M Heck, Florestan J Koll, Margitta Retz, Michael Autenrieth, Kathrin Magg, Lukas Lunger, Jürgen E Gschwend, Roman Nawroth
Technical University of Munich, School of Medicine, Rechts der Isar Medical Center, Department of Urology, Munich, Germany. Electronic address: ., Technical University of Munich, School of Medicine, Rechts der Isar Medical Center, Department of Urology, Munich, Germany.