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Impact of second opinion pathology in the definitive management of patients with bladder carcinoma.
Coblentz TR, Mills SE, Theod
Department of Urology, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville, Virginia.
BACKGROUND: The accurate diagnosis, staging, and grading of bladder neoplasms depend heavily on the interpretation of biopsies and transurethral resection (TUR) specimens.
Although many centers require review of outside pathologic material before definitive treatment such as radical cystectomy, the authors are unaware of data supporting the utility of this approach in urothelial (transitional cell) carcinoma.
The authors therefore examined the clinical and cost impact of pathologic review on patients referred to an academic urology department for treatment of bladder neoplasia.
METHODS: The pathologic material from 97 patients referred to an academic center for evaluation of urothelial carcinoma of the bladder from July 1996 to July 1999 was reviewed.
This material was received from 30 community hospitals and 4 academic centers.
The 97 patients had undergone 131 (mean, 1.35; range, 1-10) biopsies or TUR procedures before referral.
Surgical pathologists at the authors' institution reviewed all outside patient material, and discordant cases were rereviewed by one of the authors (S.E.M), an experienced genitourinary pathologist.
Follow-up chart review was performed in discordant cases to determine clinical and pathologic outcomes.
RESULTS: Upon review at the authors' institution, 24 of 131 (18%) specimens with a referring diagnosis of urothelial carcinoma exhibited significant discrepancies with regard to the diagnosis, stage, grade, or tumor histologic type made at the outside institution.
Four tumors (3%) were found to be nonurothelial neoplasms.
Five specimens (4%) were judged inadequate for staging because they contained no muscularis propria.
Three patients were upstaged, including two patients shown to have muscle invasive disease.
Eight patients were downstaged, including two patients referred with purported muscle invasive disease who were determined to have only superficial disease on pathology review.
Two patients initially thought to have carcinoma in situ (tumor in situ [Tis]) showed no evidence of Tis on pathology review.
One patient with purported muscle invasive disease was shown to have only metaplasia, and one patient had a highly significant change in tumor grade.
As a result of the pathology review, five radical cystectomies were avoided, whereas five repeat TUR procedures were recommended for inadequate staging.
One patient shown to have muscle invasion on pathology review proceeded directly to cystectomy, avoiding a planned repeat TUR.
A cystectomy also was recommended to a second patient who was shown to have invasive disease by the pathology review.
Pathology review of 131 specimens resulted in net savings of $86,176 or $658 per TUR reviewed.
CONCLUSIONS: The review of bladder pathologic materials before definitive therapy can impact clinical decisions significantly and can reduce overall expenditures for the management of this cohort of bladder carcinoma patients.
Copyright 2001 American Cancer Society.
PMID: 11283928 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]