The value of upper tract cytology after transurethral resection of bladder tumor in patients with bladder transitional cell cancer

Samih Sadek, Mark S. Soloway, Sharon Hook, Francisco Civantos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Purpose: Patients with transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder are at risk for concurrent or subsequent cancer of the upper tract. Traditionally disease is monitored by radiography (excretory or retrograde urography). Some elect to sample the upper tract by obtaining urine for cytology. Are the results meaningful when performed in a patient with bladder cancer? Materials and Methods: We evaluated 27 consecutive patients with transitional cell cancer of the bladder (grade 1 to 3, Ta to T2) with bladder wash for cytology and cystoscopy as well as resection of visible tumor. A 5F ureteral catheter was positioned at each ureteral orifice, flushed with saline and passed into each renal pelvis. Urine was collected for cytology. Results: Of 19 patients (68%) with high grade (grade 3) bladder cancer 13 had a positive bladder wash, including 6 (32%) with tumor cells detected in the urine from the upper tract. Of 8 patients (38%) with low grade (grade 1 to 2) transitional cell cancer 3 had a positive bladder wash and 2 (25%) had a positive upper tract cytology. All patients had a normal upper tract by excretory or retrograde urography. Ureteroscopy was not performed. Conclusions: Given the normal appearance of the upper urinary tract, it is highly unlikely that most, if any, of these patients with bladder cancer have tumor in the upper tract despite tumor cells in urine obtained by retrograde catheterization. Thus, upper tract sampling by a retrograde technique lacks specificity for localizing transitional cell cancer to the upper tract when performed in a patient with bladder cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-80
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999



  • Bladder neoplasms
  • Carcinoma, transitional cell
  • Cytology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

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