The Impact of Lymphadenectomy and Lymph Node Metastasis on the Outcomes of Radical Cystectomy for Bladder Cancer

Alexander Karl, Peter R. Carroll, Jürgen E. Gschwend, Ruth Knüchel, Francesco Montorsi, Christian G. Stief, Urs E. Studer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Context: The presence of lymph node metastases and the extent of lymphadenectomy have both been shown to influence the outcome of patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer. Objective: Current standards for detection of lymph node metastases, lymph-node mapping studies, histopathologic techniques, and risk factors in relation to lymph node involvement are discussed. The impact of lymph node metastases and the extent of lymphadenectomy on the outcome of patients treated with radical cystectomy are analyzed. Evidence acquisition: A systematic literature review of bladder cancer and lymph nodes was performed searching the electronic databases Pubmed/Medline, Cochrane, and Embase. Articles were selected based on title, abstract, study format, and content by a consensus of all participating authors. Evidence synthesis: Lymph node status is highly consequential in bladder cancer patients because the presence of lymph node metastases is predictive of poor outcome. Knowledge of primary landing sites of lymph node metastases is important for optimum therapeutic management. Accurate pathologic work-ups of resected lymph node tissue are mandatory. Molecular markers could potentially guide therapeutic decisions in the future because they may enable the detection of micrometastatic disease. In current series, radical cystectomy with an extended lymphadenectomy seems to provide a clinically meaningful therapeutic benefit compared with a limited approach. However, the anatomic boundaries of lymph node dissection are still under debate. Therefore, large prospective multicenter trials are needed to validate the influence of extended lymph node dissection on disease-specific survival. Conclusions: An extended pelvic lymph node dissection (encompassing the external iliac vessels, the obturator fossa, the lateral and medial aspects of the internal iliac vessels, and at least the distal half of the common iliac vessels together with its bifurcation) can be curative in patients with metastasis or micrometastasis to a few nodes. Therefore, the procedure may be offered to all patients undergoing radical cystectomy for invasive bladder cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)826-835
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Urology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009



  • Bladder cancer
  • Lymphadenectomy
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

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