Oncologic surveillance in bladder cancer following radical cystectomy: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Suzanne B. Stewart-Merrill, Fares Alahdab, Khalid Benkhadra, Zhen Wang, Atsushi Sorita, Stephen A. Boorjian, Igor Frank, Mohammad Hassan Murad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: The existing guidance on bladder cancer surveillance following radical cystectomy is limited and variable. Additionally, the effect of surveillance on mortality is debatable. Herein, we perform a systematic review to evaluate the characteristics of alternative oncologic surveillance protocols and determine the association of detection of asymptomatic vs. symptomatic recurrences on mortality. Methods: An electronic search of PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library databases was performed from 1970 to 2015. In all, 3 reviewers independently assessed the 1,729 candidate studies for eligibility and abstracted data based on an a priori established protocol. Outcomes were pooled using random effects meta-analysis. Results: We identified 7 studies for inclusion that were uncontrolled and thereby represented a body of evidence at high risk of bias; 5 studies developed surveillance protocols using a methodology similar to that of established guidelines. The majority proposed a pathologic stage-stratified approach, but ended surveillance for all patients at 5 years. Detection of asymptomatic recurrences was associated with a nonsignificant reduction in mortality (relative risk = 0.78; 95% CI: 0.58-1.04). This effect became statistically significant when upper and lower urinary tract recurrences were included in the analyses (relative risk = 0.69; 95% CI: 0.59-0.79). Conclusions: Only sparse evidence supports alternative oncologic surveillance protocols for bladder cancer following radical cystectomy. The majority of existing protocols proposed similar strategies to those recommended by published guidelines. Detecting asymptomatic recurrences may lead to a reduction in overall mortality, which could provide a rationale for surveillance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236.e13-236.e21
JournalUrologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Bladder cancer
  • Cystectomy
  • Guidelines
  • Recurrence
  • Surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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