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.
ABSTRACT 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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ABSTRACT: Pelvic lymphadenectomy during radical cystectomy yields a various number of lymph nodes depending on the extent of lymph node dissection and pathologist aggressiveness when searching the specimen. How the surgeon submits lymph nodes for pathological evaluation may also affect how many are retrieved. Bilateral pelvic lymph node dissection and radical cystectomy for transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder was performed in 32 patients. The extent of lymph node dissection involved standard and extended lymphadenectomy in 20 and 12 cases, respectively. In patients who underwent standard dissection unilateral en bloc submission of the lymph nodes was done with the contralateral lymph node dissection sent as an individual discrete packet. In those who underwent extended dissection all lymph nodes from each side were submitted en bloc or as 6 packets. Standard lymphadenectomy en bloc specimens yielded a mean of 2.4 lymph nodes compared with 8.5 retrieved from individual lymph node specimens (p = 0.003). Extended lymphadenectomy en bloc specimens yielded a mean of 22.6 lymph nodes compared with 36.5 retrieved from the individually submitted packets (p = 0.02). Submitting pelvic lymph nodes as separate specimens optimizes pathological evaluation of the number of lymph nodes that may be involved with metastatic cancer. Such information is important for identifying patients who may benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy.The Journal of Urology 01/2002; 166(6):2295-6. · 3.70 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We postulate that the number of lymph nodes examined in cystectomy specimens can have an impact on the outcome of patients with bladder cancer. We analyzed data on 322 patients with muscle invasive bladder cancer who underwent radical cystectomy and bilateral pelvic lymphadenectomy. We evaluated the associations of the number of lymph nodes identified by the pathologist in the surgical specimen with the local recurrence rate and survival outcome. Patients were divided into groups by lymph node status and the distribution of the number of lymph nodes examined. In stages pN0 and pN+ cases improved survival was associated with a greater number of lymph nodes examined. We determined that at least 9 lymph nodes should be studied to define lymph node status accurately. These results indicate that surgical resection and pathological assessment of an adequate number of lymph nodes in cystectomy specimens increases the likelihood of proper staging and impacts patient outcome. Such information is important not only for the therapy and prognosis of individuals, but also for identifying those who may benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy.The Journal of Urology 04/2002; 167(3):1295-8. · 3.70 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We evaluated the clinical outcomes and risk factors for progression in a large cohort of patients with lymph node metastases following en bloc radical cystectomy and bilateral pelvic lymphadenectomy. From July 1971 through December 1997, 1,054 patients underwent radical cystectomy and bilateral pelvic-iliac lymphadenectomy for high grade, invasive transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder. Of these patients 244 (23%) with a median age of 66 years (range 36 to 90) had pathological lymph node metastases. Overall 139 of the 244 patients (57%) received some form of chemotherapy. At a median followup of greater than 10 years (range 0 to 28) outcomes data were analyzed in univariate analysis according to tumor grade, carcinoma in situ, primary bladder tumor stage, pathological subgroups, total number of lymph nodes removed and involved with tumor, and lymph node density (total number of positive lymph nodes/total number removed). In addition, the form of urinary diversion and the administration of chemotherapy were also evaluated. Multivariate analysis was then performed to analyze these variables independently. The incidence of positive lymph nodes increased with higher p stage and pathological subgroups. Of 669 patients 75 (11%) with organ confined primary tumors and 169 of 385 (44%) with extravesical tumor extension had involved lymph nodes. The median number of lymph nodes removed in the 244 lymph node positive cases was 30 (range 1 to 96), while the median number of positive lymph nodes was 2 (range 1 to 63). Overall recurrence-free survival at 5 and 10 years for the 244 patients with lymph node positive disease was 35% and 34%, respectively. Patients with lymph node positive disease and an organ confined primary bladder tumor had significantly improved 10-year recurrence-free survival compared with those with extravesical tumor extension (44% vs 30%, p = 0.003). The total number of lymph nodes removed at surgery was also prognostic. Patients with 15 or less lymph nodes removed had 25% 10-year recurrence-free survival compared with 36% when greater than 15 lymph nodes were removed. Recurrence-free survival at 10 years for patients with 8 or less positive lymph nodes was significantly higher than in those with greater than 8 positive lymph nodes (40% vs 10%, p <0.001). The novel concept of lymph node density was also a significant prognostic factor. Patients with a lymph node density of 20% or less had 43% 10-year recurrence-free survival compared with only 17% survival at 10 years when lymph node density was greater than 20% (p <0.001). On multivariate analysis the total number of lymph nodes involved, pathological subgroups of the primary bladder tumor, lymph node density and adjuvant chemotherapy remained significant and independent risk factors for recurrence-free and overall survival. Patients with lymph node tumor involvement following radical cystectomy may be stratified into high risk groups based on the primary bladder tumor, pathological subgroup, number of lymph nodes removed and total number of lymph nodes involved. Lymph node density, which is a novel prognostic indicator, may better stratify lymph node positive cases because this concept collectively accounts for the total number of positive lymph nodes (tumor burden) and the total number of lymph nodes removed (extent of lymphadenectomy). Future staging systems and the application of adjuvant therapies in clinical trials should consider applying lymph node density to help standardize this high risk group of patients following radical cystectomy.The Journal of Urology 07/2003; 170(1):35-41. · 3.70 Impact Factor