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Survival and metastasis in muscle-invasive bladder cancer patients who present with indeterminate pulmonary nodules before treatment

Ali Al-daghmin, Sohaib Alhamss, Hani Al-Najjar, Ibrahim Al-Saidi, Khloud Al-Qasem, Ibrahim Abukhiran, Anas Hamad, Muna Alhusban

From the Department of Surgery, King Hussein Cancer Center, Amman, Jordan

How to cite this article:

Al-daghmin A, Alhamss S, Al-Najjar H, Al-Saidi I, Al-Qasem K, Abukhiran I, et al. Survival and metastasis in muscle-invasive bladder cancer patients who present with indeterminate pulmonary nodules before treatment. Ann Saudi Med 2019; 39 (1): 42-47.


BACKGROUND: Indeterminate pulmonary nodules (IPNs) are common during initial evaluation of bladder cancer patients. Their significance is still unknown.


OBJECTIVE: Determine the significance of indeterminate pulmonary nodules, including their size and number, in muscle-invasive bladder cancer patients before definitive local therapy by surgery or chemo-radiotherapy. 


DESIGN: Retrospective review, single-center descriptive study.


SETTINGS: A tertiary cancer center.


PATIENTS AND METHODS: We performed a retrospective review of patients who underwent definitive local therapy of bladder cancer by either radical cystectomy and lymph node dissection or with chemo-radiotherapy between January 1997 and December 2015. We identified patients with baseline CT scans done during staging work-up prior to definitive treatment. Patients with proven clinical metastasis at pre.sentation were excluded, while patients who had IPNs without features suggesting metastasis were included.


MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Disease-free survival and overall survival.


SAMPLE SIZE: 168 patients.


RESULTS: The median age of patients at diagnosis was 66 years; 92% were males and 56% were smokers. IPNs (3 cm or less) were present in 74 patients (44.0%). Median follow-up was 24 months. IPNs were associated with decreased disease-free survival while IPNs did not affect the overall survival (HR=1.9; 95% CI: 1.1-3.4); P=.01 and HR=1.5; 95% CI: 1.0-2.5); P=.07, respectively. In addition, nodules >1 cm had reduced disease-free survival (HR=2.5; 95% CI: 1.1-5.9); P=.04. In the surgery group (n=126), the median number of lymph nodes excised was 14, with no association between lymph nodes status and the presence of IPNs (P=.08).


CONCLUSION: The presence of IPNs, especially nodules >1 cm had a negative effect on disease-free survival. Tailored postoperative follow-up of these patients may impact disease outcomes.


LIMITATIONS: The retrospective nature, the lack of standardized preoperative imaging protocols, the lack of a central radiology review and the small number of patients.





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