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The importance of transurethral resection of bladder tumor in the management of nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer: a systematic review of novel technologies

Publication: J Urol., Volume 191, Issue 6, June 2014, Pages 1655-1664


Transurethral bladder tumor resection is one of the most commonly performed procedures by practicing urologists for the diagnosis, staging and treatment of nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer. There is wide variation in the technique and quality of transurethral bladder tumor resection among urologists. This is the first and critically important diagnostic and staging tool in the management of bladder cancer, which is a potentially lethal malignancy and the most costly urological malignancy to manage. In this review we provide an evidence-based rationale for the incorporation of novel technologies for transurethral resection of bladder tumor in the setting of previously set standards.

Materials and methods:
A systematic MEDLINE®/PubMed®, Cochrane Library and Ovid MEDLINE® search was performed using 2 separate search queries. The MEDLINE/PubMed search was performed using the key words “transurethral resection bladder tumor,” filtering the search to include studies published within the last 5 years, English language and human species. A second search without filters was performed with the same key words in the Cochrane Library and Ovid MEDLINE. Study eligibility was defined based on patients with nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer, treatment with transurethral bladder tumor resection and with variable comparators based on novel technology used. All study designs were accepted except case reports, animal studies, editorials and review articles with various outcome measures reported including tumor detection, residual tumor detection, disease recurrence/progression and adverse events.

The literature search ultimately yielded 971 manuscripts for review with 42 meeting inclusion criteria for systematic review. Refinements in technique and surgeon experience are critical for the performance of a thorough, complete, high quality transurethral bladder tumor resection. Recent technological advances including bipolar electrocautery and regional anesthetic techniques may help reduce the complications associated with transurethral bladder tumor resection. Photodynamic diagnosis may help increase the diagnostic accuracy, reduce the recurrence rate and decrease the cost of treating patients with nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer. Repeat transurethral bladder tumor resection and perioperative intravesical chemotherapy remain standard components in select patients with nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer. Appropriate clinical staging and treatment of patients with nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer remain a challenge.

Recent advances in transurethral bladder tumor resection should aid its diagnostic accuracy, reduce recurrences, decrease complications and reduce the cost of management of nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer. Urologists should incorporate these evidence-based strategies into current guideline recommendations to improve patient outcomes following transurethral resection of bladder tumor in everyday practice.

Commented by Maria Ribal

Complete and correct TURB is essential to achieve a good prognosis and is fundamental in BC management.  It must be considered as crucial surgery and must be done following systematic steps. Several new TURB techniques have been described in order to improve the TURB outcomes and subsequently BC management. Further analysis are warranted to establish the real impact of new technologies on BC outcomes, although there is evidence that some could help to reduce recurrences, improve diagnostic accuracy and better organize BC management.