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Rodler, Severin; Buchner, Alexander; Ledderose, Stephan T.; Eismann, Lennert; Volz, Yannic; Pfitzinger, Paulo; Kretschmer, Alexander; Schulz, Gerald B.; Karl, Alexander; Schlenker, Boris; Stief, Christian G. and Jokisch, Friedrich (2020): Prognostic value of pretreatment inflammatory markers in variant histologies of the bladder: is inflammation linked to survival after radical cystectomy? In: World Journal of Urology, Vol. 39, No. 7: pp. 2537-2543

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Purpose: To investigate differences in standard preoperative inflammatory markers in patients with urothelial carcinoma (UC) and variant histologies undergoing radical cystectomy (RC) and determine its impact on survival. Methods Patients undergoing RC at an academic high-volume center were retrospectively analyzed. Preoperatively taken CRP, leukocytes, hemoglobin (Hb), and thrombocytes were analyzed as routine inflammatory biomarkers. Log-rank tests and Kruskal-Wallis analysis were used to calculate for differences in survival and in blood levels of biomarkers. Results: 886 patients with complete follow-up and UC or variant histology underwent RC at our institution between 2004 and 2019. Although variant histology presents with significantly higher t stage than UC, cancer-specific survival (CSS) of UC (1-year-CSS: 93%) is not significantly different to variant histology of UC with squamous differentiation (UCSD, 1-year-CSS: 81%), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC, 1-year-CSS: 82%), and adenocarcinoma (AC, 1-year-CSS: 81%). In UC, alterations in all biomarkers except leukocytes beyond routine cut-off values were associated with poor survival (p < 0.01), whereas Hb beyond cut-off values are associated with poor prognosis in SCC (p < 0.05). CRP levels are significantly elevated in UCSD and SCC at time of surgery compared to UC (p < 0.05). Conclusion Inflammatory biomarkers reveal distinctive patterns across UC and variant histologies of bladder cancer. As inflammation might play an important role in cancer progression, further research is warranted to understand those molecular mechanisms and their potential therapeutic impact in variant histology of bladder cancer.

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