PURPOSE: We investigated the effects of radical cystectomy and the prognostic factors that affect the survival of bladder cancer patients. MATERIALS AND METHODS: From 1979 to 2002, 59 patients with long-term follow up results of at least 2 years were enrolled in this study. Indications for surgery included muscle invasive bladder cancer and high-risk superficial bladder cancer. The cancer specific and recurrence free survival rates with respect to the possible prognostic factors were determined using Kaplan-Meier statistics. RESULTS: The mean patient age was 62.8 years (M: 48, F: 11), and the estimated 5- and 10-year survival rates were 62% and 39.4%, respectively. The median time to local or systemic recurrence was 16 months (range: 5~100), and the average survival durations after local and systemic recurrence were 14.4 months and 12.7 months, respectively. Pathologic stage, tumor grade, mean nuclear area, sex and lymphatic invasion were significant factors by univariate analysis (p<0.05). The disease related survival rate in patients having progression from an initial superficial tumor was lower than for those patients who displayed muscle invasive disease at the initial treatment. Multivariate analysis identified pathologic stage and lymphatic invasion as independent prognostic factors. CONCLUSIONS: Radical cystectomy for organ-confined cancer showed favorable 5- and 10-year survival rates. The survival rate for patients with progression from an initial superficial tumor was worse than for those patients with invasive tumor at the initial presentation. The most significant independent prognostic factors were the pathologic stage and the presence of lymphatic invasion, which were highly correlated with all the investigated disease endpoints.