What are characteristics of the different grades and stages of bladder cancer?

Updated: Feb 23, 2021
  • Author: Kara N Babaian, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS  more...
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Ta and T1 tumors and carcinoma in situ (CIS) were historically considered superficial bladder tumors. T2, T3, and T4 tumors were traditionally described as invasive bladder cancer. However, use of the term superficial bladder cancer is recommended against by the AUA/SUO, NCCN and EAU guidelines because it groups together patients who may require different treatments and who may have different prognoses. Instead, all guidelines now categorize these tumors as non–muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). [143, 69, 146, 1]

Urothelial carcinoma is histologically graded as low grade or high grade. CIS is characterized by full mucosal thickness and high-grade dysplasia or marked atypia of the bladder epithelium and is associated with a poorer prognosis. By definition, CIS is confined to the epithelial surface of the urinary tract and has no other official stage definition.

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