Radical cystectomy and extended pelvic lymphadenectomy: survival of patients with lymph node metastasis above the bifurcation of the common iliac vessels treated with surgery only.J Urol. 2007 Oct; 178(4 Pt 1):1218-23; discussion 1223-4.JU
We assessed the clinical outcome in patients with invasive bladder cancer and lymph node metastasis above the bifurcation of the common iliac vessels treated with radical cystectomy including extended pelvic lymph node dissection without adjunct therapy.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Between 1993 and June 2005 a total of 336 consecutive patients underwent radical cystectomy and extended pelvic lymphadenectomy without preoperative or postoperative chemotherapy by 1 surgeon. A total of 263 patients (78.3%) had orthotopic bladder reconstruction. The pelvic lymph node dissection began at the distal aorta including the common and external iliac lymph nodes, and the periaortic, presacral and obturator fossa nodes. The lymphatic tissue removed above and below the bifurcation of the common iliac vessels was submitted separately for histopathological analysis. Data were prospectively entered into a database that forms the basis of this cohort study.
The 5-year overall and recurrence-free survival rates in the entire study population of 336 patients were 68% and 69%, respectively. Overall 64 patients (19%) had lymph node metastases of whom 22 (34.4%) had lymph node involvement above the bifurcation of the common iliac vessels outside the template of the standard lymph node dissection. The median number of retrieved lymph nodes was 27 (range 7 to 78) and in those with lymph node metastases 27 (range 11 to 49) included 8 (range 0 to 17) above the bifurcation and 18 (range 8 to 41) below the bifurcation of the common iliac vessels in the true pelvis. Lymph node involvement proved a significant adverse prognostic factor with a 5-year probability of survival of 39% vs 76%. The overall 5-year survival rates was similar in patients with lymph node involvement above the bifurcation of the common iliac vessels (37%) compared to the entire population with lymph node metastasis (41%) and to those with lymphatic metastases in the true pelvis below the bifurcation of the common iliac vessels (42%). The survival rate was significantly higher in patients with 5 or less involved lymph nodes (50% vs 13%, p <0.002) and in those with a lymph node density (number of lymph nodes involved/total number of lymph nodes removed) less than 20% (25% vs 47%, p <0.05), but it did not relate to the total number of retrieved lymph nodes.
Overall 34% of our patients with lymph node metastases had nodal involvement in the common iliac, periaortic and presacral regions after radical cystectomy for bladder cancer. Survival was similar in this group of patients with lymphatic metastasis outside the boundaries of the standard pelvic lymph node dissection template compared to the entire population with lymph node metastasis. This finding underscores the contention that extended dissection not only provides the most accurate staging but also offers the patient the best chance of survival. Following radical cystectomy patients can be stratified into risk groups according to tumor stage, lymph node involvement, number of metastatic nodes and lymph node density. Our results support the idea that the benchmark for radical cystectomy should include extensive pelvic lymph node dissection with anatomical boundaries including the common iliac and presacral nodes.