Evaluation of current surveillance guidelines following radical cystectomy and proposal of a novel risk-based approach

Suzanne Merrill, Stephen A. Boorjian, Robert Houston Thompson, Sarah P. Psutka, John C. Cheville, Prabin Thapa, Eric J. Bergstrahl, Matthew K. Tollefson, Igor Frank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Evidence supporting surveillance guidelines after radical cystectomy (RC) are lacking. Herein, we evaluate the ability of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines and the European Association of Urology (EAU) guidelines to capture recurrences and provide an alternative approach that balances risks of recurrence with non-bladder cancer death. Methods: We identified 1,797 patients who had M0 urothelial carcinoma who underwent RC at our institution between 1980 and 2007. The success of current guidelines to capture recurrences was assessed by calculating the percentage of recurrences detected during the recommended follow-up time: the NCCN-2 years and the EAU-5 years. An alternative protocol was created using Weibull distributions, which estimate when a patient's risk of non-bladder cancer death exceeds their risk of recurrence. Results: At a median follow-up of 10.6 years (interquartile range: 6.8-15.2), a total of 714 patients recurred. Of these, 491 (68.7%) would have been detected by the NCCN guidelines and 642 (89.8%) by the EAU guidelines. Using a risk-adapted approach, vastly different surveillance durations were appreciated. For example, for patients older than 80 years with pT0Nx-0 or pTa/CIS/1Nx-0 disease, recurrence risk to any location never exceeded their risk of non-bladder cancer death, whereas for patients aged 60 years and younger with pT3/4Nx-0 or pTanyN+disease, risk of abdominal/pelvis recurrence remained greater than their risk of non-bladder cancer death for>20 years. Conclusions: The duration of post-RC follow-up recommended by the NCCN and the EAU does not comprehensively capture recurrences. A surveillance algorithm based on the interaction between recurrence risk and competing health factors individualizes recommendations and may improve capture of recurrences and resource allocation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339.e1-339.e8
JournalUrologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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