What is the sensitivity and specificity of cytology in detecting bladder cancer?

Updated: Feb 23, 2021
  • Author: Kara N Babaian, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS  more...
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Answer

Unfortunately, the sensitivity of cytology is low, with various studies reporting values between 11% and 76%. [72] Sensitivity depends largely on the degree of tumor differentiation. High-grade tumors with marked pleomorphism and distinctly abnormal nuclear features are identified more accurately.

Small and/or well-differentiated tumors are less likely to exfoliate cells because intercellular attachments are better preserved and the degree of morphologic departure from normal is smaller, complicating cytologic recognition. [73] This results in poor sensitivity in low-grade and early-stage cancers.


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