Surgical intervention in patients with urothelial carcinoma of the bladder and lymph node metastasis.

To systematically review the most recent evidence on the role of surgery in patients with urothelial carcinoma of bladder and lymph node metastasis.

Patients with urothelial carcinoma of bladder and lymph node metastasis have a poor prognosis. The mainstay treatment for these patients is systemic chemotherapy. However, slowly growing body of literature suggests that multimodal therapy comprised of radical cystectomy, lymph node dissection, and perioperative chemotherapy is more effective than either chemotherapy or surgery alone. The timing of chemotherapy, whether preoperative or adjuvant chemotherapy, is still controversial, but the current evidence indicates that patients who achieve a major or complete response after induction chemotherapy appear to benefit from the surgical intervention in the form of radical cystectomy and pelvic lymph node dissection. The limit of lymph node dissection has to be determined.

Multimodal therapy is associated with better survival outcomes in bladder cancer patients with lymph node metastasis. The current guidelines recommend systemic chemotherapy as the mainstay of treatment for these patients, and there is no convincing evidence on the efficacy of surgical intervention in isolation. Nonetheless, studies comparing multiple treatment modalities demonstrated that surgical salvage therapy is beneficial only when combined with chemotherapy. The methodological limitations of the current literature preclude a robust conclusion of survival advantage. Further studies are needed to help improve imaging for detecting lymph node metastasis and novel strategies to enrich our multimodal therapeutic implementation.

Current opinion in urology. 2021 Mar 10 [Epub ahead of print]

Mohammad Abufaraj, Abdallah Al-Ani, Alex AlQudah, Shahrokh F Shariat

Division of Urology, Department of Special Surgery, Jordan University Hospital, The University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan Department of Urology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria Faculty of Medicine, The University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan Department of Urology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York Department of Urology, University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, Texas, USA Institute for Urology and Reproductive Health, I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, Moscow, Russia.