Combination of cytologic evaluation and quantitative digital cytometry is reliable in detecting recurrent disease in patients with urinary diversions




Detecting recurrent bladder carcinoma early is important because it is a multifocal disease that may affect the bladder mucosa, ureters, urethra, and renal pelvis and is associated with high morbidity and mortality rates. However, specimens from patients who have undergone cystectomy with urinary diversion can be difficult to interpret by cytologic evaluation because they often contain degenerated epithelial cells, histiocytes, acute inflammatory cells, bacteria, and cellular debris. In this retrospective study, the reliability of quantitative digital cytometry (QDC) in conjunction with cytologic evaluation in detecting recurrent disease was determined in these patients.


In all, 116 specimens were identified from the cytology files from 83 patients who had undergone radical cystectomy with urinary diversion for bladder carcinoma at the study institution between 2002 and 2005; all specimens underwent cytologic evaluation and 105 underwent QDC. Two cytospin slides were prepared for cytologic evaluation and 1 for QDC. At least 100 of the most atypical cells were interactively digitized and evaluated for ploidy, the percentage of proliferating cells, and the percentage of cells with a DNA content greater than 5c. Based on these parameters, the DNA histograms were grouped by pattern: diploid, abnormal diploid, tetraploid, and aneuploid. The cytologic evaluation and QDC results were compared with the clinical follow-up data.


In all, 103 specimens were negative for recurrent disease or had atypical cells on cytologic examination and were found to have diploid or abnormal diploid patterns on QDC. None of these cases had clinical evidence of upper urinary tract disease at the time the first specimen was obtained. However, recurrent urothelial carcinoma was found in subsequent conduit specimens from 2 patients. Thirteen specimens from 9 patients were suspicious or positive for malignancy by cytology. Five of these patients had an upper urinary tract recurrence and their specimens were found to be abnormal on cytologic evaluation and QDC, with 15% of cells with a DNA content greater than 5c.


Combined cytologic evaluation and QDC is a reliable method of detecting recurrent disease in patients with urinary diversions and can be used to regularly monitor these high-risk patients. Cancer (Cancer Cytopathol) 2007. © 2007 American Cancer Society.