Effect of a minimum lymph node policy in radical cystectomy and pelvic lymphadenectomy on lymph node yields, lymph node positivity rates, lymph node density, and survivorship in patients with bladder cancer

Department of Urology, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
Cancer (Impact Factor: 4.89). 04/2010; 116(8):1901-8. DOI: 10.1002/cncr.25011
Source: PubMed


Extended pelvic lymphadenectomy (PLND) during radical cystectomy (RC) reportedly improves bladder cancer-specific survival. Lymph node counts are often a proxy for the extensiveness of a dissection. In the current study, the impact of an institutional policy requiring a minimum number of lymph nodes was assessed.
Patients undergoing RC and PLND for invasive bladder cancer between March 2000 and February 2008 were retrospectively reviewed at the study institution. Beginning March 1, 2004, a policy was established that at least 16 lymph nodes had to be examined. Specimens with <16 lymph nodes were resubmitted (including any fat) to detect additional lymph nodes. Lymph node yields, lymph node positivity, lymph node density (LND), and survivorship before and after policy implementation were compared.
A total of 147 patients underwent surgery 4 years before policy implementation and 202 underwent surgery 4 years after. The median number of lymph nodes increased from 15 to 20. Percentage of cases with >or=16 lymph nodes increased from 42.9% to 69.3% (P <.01). The lymph node positivity rates did not change significantly, but the proportion of patients with LND <20% increased from 43.9% to 65.5% (P = .04). Overall survival increased from 41.5% to 72.3% (P <.01). Univariate and multivariate regression demonstrated that policy implementation, and subsequent increase in median lymph node yield, decreased mortality risk by 30% (hazards ratio [HR], 0.70; P = .04) and 48% (HR, 0.52; P = .01), respectively.
Thorough evaluation of PLND specimens obtained at RC can be influenced by an institutional policy mandating a minimum number of lymph nodes. This could lead to greater confidence in pathologic staging and reliability of LND as a predictor of prognosis. Survival can improve due to increased awareness to perform a more thorough PLND.

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Available from: Ardalan Ahmad, Nov 25, 2015
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    • "Fang et al60 demonstrated the effect of a policy requiring identification of a minimum number of LNs. According to this policy, any lymphadenectomy specimen with fewer than 16 LNs was resubmitted to a senior pathologist for review. "
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    ABSTRACT: Pelvic lymph node dissection (PLND) in patients with bladder cancer varies widely in extent, technique employed, and pathological workup of specimens. The present paper provides an overview of the existing evidence regarding the effectiveness of PLND and elucidates the interactions between patient, surgeon, pathologist, and treating institution as well as their cumulative impact on the final postoperative lymph node (LN) staging. Bladder cancer patients undergoing radical cystectomy with extended PLND appear to have better oncologic outcomes compared to patients undergoing radical cystectomy and limited PLND. Attempts have been made to define and assess the quality of PLND according to the number of lymph nodes identified. However, lymph node counts depend on multiple factors such as patient characteristics, surgical template, pathological workup, and institutional policies; hence, meticulous PLND within a defined and uniformly applied extended template appears to be a better assurance of quality than absolute lymph node counts. Nevertheless, the prognosis of the patients can be partially predicted with findings from the histopathological evaluation of the PLND specimen, such as the number of positive lymph nodes, extracapsular extension, and size of the largest LN metastases. Therefore, particular prognostic parameters should be addressed within the pathological report to guide the urologist in terms of patient counseling.
    Research and Reports in Urology 08/2013; 5(1):121-128. DOI:10.2147/RRU.S32333
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    • "Fang et al. [32] reported on 349 patients who underwent RC and PLND between March 2000 and February 2008. The authors established an institutional policy mandating at least 16 LNs be examined in March 2004. "
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    ABSTRACT: The standard surgical treatment of invasive bladder cancer is the radical cystectomy and pelvic lymph node dissection (PLND). Up to one-third of patients with invasive bladder cancer have lymph node metastasis. Thus, PLND has important therapeutic and prognostic benefits. The number of lymph nodes that should be removed and the extent of the PLND are still a controversial issue. Recently, the trend of PLND increased toward more extended PLND. Several prognostic factors related to PLND were reported in the literature. In this paper, we will discuss the different PLND templates, number of lymph nodes that should be resected, lymph node density, lymphovascular invasion, tumor burden, extracapsular extension, and the aggregate lymph node metastasis diameter.
    Advances in Urology 08/2011; 2011(3):701481. DOI:10.1155/2011/701481
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    ABSTRACT: Radical cystectomy with pelvic lymphadenectomy represents the gold standard for treatment of muscle-invasive bladder cancer. Extent of the lymph node dissection and lymph node involvement during radical cystectomy are the most powerful prognostic factors associated with poor oncological outcome. However, the optimal boundaries of the lymph node dissection during a radical cystectomy are controversial. The published literature based mostly on retrospective studies suggests that increasing the number of nodes excised may have therapeutic and diagnostic benefits without significantly increasing the surgical morbidity. These conclusions are, however, influenced by selection and surgeon biases, inconsistencies in the quality of the surgery, and node count variability. In this paper, we establish the current understanding about the utility of lymphadenectomy during a radical cystectomy for muscle-invasive bladder cancer.
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