Introduction: The aim of this study was to validate the value of preoperative patient characteristics in prognosticating survival after radical cystectomy (RC) to guide treatment decisions regarding neoadjuvant systemic treatment. Methods: We evaluated a single cohort of 449 consecutive patients treated with RC for bladder cancer. Patients treated with neoadjuvant therapy were excluded from the study cohort (n = 24). Patients were stratified based on preoperative characteristics into 2 risk groups. The high-risk group included patients harboring clinically non-organ-confined disease (≥ cT3), hydroureteronephrosis, lymphovascular invasion, or variant histology (micropapillary, neuroendocrine, sarcomatoid, or plasmacytoid variants on transurethral resection). The low-risk group included patients with cT2 disease without any of the aforementioned features. Survival expectancies after surgery were evaluated using competing risk and Kaplan-Meier analyses. Results: We identified 153 (44.6%) low-risk and 190 (55.4%) high-risk patients. The majority of high-risk patients had only 1 high-risk feature (n = 111; 58.4%); the most common high-risk feature was preoperative hydroureteronephrosis (n = 107; 56.3%). The majority of low-risk patients were upstaged at time of RC (n = 118; 70.6%), whereas a pathologic downstage occurred only in 27 high-risk patients (14.2%). Cancer-specific mortality-free rates at 5 years after RC were 77.4% versus 64.4% for low-risk versus high-risk patients, respectively. Conclusions: We confirm that preoperative risk features can stratify patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer into differential risk groups regarding survival. Decision-making regarding neoadjuvant systemic therapy administration is likely to be improved by integrating clinical stage, lymphovascular invasion, variant histology, and hydroureteronephrosis. © 2016 Elsevier Inc.