Yonsei Med J.  2021 Jul;62(7):569-576. 10.3349/ymj.2021.62.7.569.

Patterns of Locoregional Recurrence after Radical Cystectomy for Stage T3-4 Bladder Cancer: A Radiation Oncologist’s Point of View

  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Gachon University Gil Medical Center, Incheon, Korea
  • 2Department of Radiation Oncology, Yonsei Cancer Center, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Radiation Oncology, Nowon Eulji Medical Center, Eulji University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei Cancer Center, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 5Department of Radiology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 6Department of Urology, Urological Science Institute, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Adjuvant radiotherapy (RT) has been performed to reduce locoregional failure (LRF) following radical cystectomy for locally advanced bladder cancer; however, its efficacy has not been well established. We analyzed the locoregional recurrence patterns of post-radical cystectomy to identify patients who could benefit from adjuvant RT and determine the optimal target volume.
Materials and Methods
We retrospectively reviewed 160 patients with stage ≥ pT3 bladder cancer who were treated with radical cystectomy between January 2006 and December 2015. The impact of pathologic findings, including the stage, lympho-vascular invasion, perineural invasion, margin status, nodal involvement, and the number of nodes removed on failure patterns, was assessed.
Median follow-up period was 27.7 months. LRF was observed in 55 patients (34.3%), 12 of whom presented with synchronous local and regional failures as the first failure. The most common failure pattern was distant metastasis (40%). Among LRFs, the most common recurrence site was the cystectomy bed (15.6%). Patients with positive resection margins had a significantly higher recurrence rate compared to those without (28% vs. 10%, p=0.004). The pelvic nodal recurrence rate was < 5% in pN0 patients; the rate of recurrence in the external and common iliac nodes was 12.5% in pN+ patients. The rate of recurrence in the common iliac nodes was significantly higher in pN2–3 patients than in pN0–1 patients (15.2% vs. 4.4%, p=0.04).
Pelvic RT could be beneficial especially for those with positive resection margins or nodal involvement after radical cystectomy. Radiation fields should be optimized based on the patient-specific risk factors.


Urinary bladder neoplasms; adjuvant radiotherapy; cystectomy; recurrence
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