Pathologic nodal staging score for bladder cancer: A decision tool for adjuvant therapy after radical cystectomy

Shahrokh F. Shariat*, Michael Rink, Behfar Ehdaie, Evanguelos Xylinas, Marek Babjuk, Axel S. Merseburger, Robert S. Svatek, Eugene K. Cha, Scott T. Tagawa, Harun Fajkovic, Giacomo Novara, Pierre I. Karakiewicz, Quoc Dien Trinh, Siamak Daneshmand, Yair Lotan, Wassim Kassouf, Hans Martin Fritsche, Felix K. Chun, Guru Sonpavde, Abdennabi JoualDouglas S. Scherr, Mithat Gonen

*Corresponding author for this work
33 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Radical cystectomy (RC) with pelvic lymph node dissection (PLND) is the standard of care for high-risk non-muscle-invasive and muscle-invasive bladder cancer (BCa). Objective: To develop a model that allows quantification of the likelihood that a pathologically node-negative patient has, indeed, no positive nodes. Design, setting, and participants: We analyzed data from 4335 patients treated with RC and PLND without neoadjuvant chemotherapy at 12 international academic centers. Interventions: Patients underwent RC and PLND. Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: We estimated the sensitivity of pathologic nodal staging using a beta-binomial model and developed a pathologic (postoperative) nodal staging score (pNSS) that represents the probability that a patient is correctly staged as node negative as a function of the number of examined nodes. Results and limitations: Overall, the probability of missing a positive node decreases with the increasing number of nodes examined (52% if 3 nodes are examined, 40% if 5 are examined, and 26% if 10 are examined). The proportion of having a positive node increased proportionally with advancing pathologic T stage and lymphovascular invasion (LVI). Patients with LVI who had 25 examined nodes would have a pNSS of 80% (pT1), 88% (pT2), and 66% (pT3-T4), whereas 10 examined nodes were sufficient for pNSS exceeding 90% in patients without LVI and pT0-T2 tumors. This study is limited because of its retrospective design and multicenter nature. Conclusions: We developed a tool that estimates the likelihood of lymph node (LN) metastasis in BCa patients treated with RC by evaluating the number of examined nodes, the pathologic T stage, and LVI. The pNSS indicates the adequacy of nodal staging in LN-negative patients. This tool could help to refine clinical decision making regarding adjuvant chemotherapy, follow-up scheduling, and inclusion in clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Urology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)371-378
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 02.2013

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)


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