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Using urine microscopy and cytology for early detection of bladder cancer in male patients with lower urinary tract symptoms



Irritative urinary symptoms and micro-hematuria are the common findings in bladder cancer patients. In this study, we investigated the use of urine microscopy and cytological examination for early detection of bladder cancer in patients with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS).


Male patients presented with LUTS to urology clinic were enrolled. Voiding symptoms were evaluated with international prostate symptoms score, and urine samples were collected for microscopy and cytological examination. Cystoscopy was performed in patients with microscopic hematuria, suspicious/malignant cells in urine or at the time of transurethral resection of prostate. Subjects, who had no indication and did not receive cystoscopy, were followed up in clinic for progress of symptoms, including gross hematuria and occurrence of bladder cancer.


Nine hundred and eighty-eight patients were enrolled during the period of 2005–2007. Fifty-two (5.26%) urine samples were documented as atypical, and 936 (94.7%) were negative. There was no suspicious or malignant cytology result in this series. Micro-hematuria was noticed in six patients (0.61%). The mean follow-up time was 29.1 ± 12.5 months. One (0.10%) patient had bladder cancer 44 months after the first visit in the cohort, who had micro-hematuria, atypical urine cytology, but normal cystoscopy before diagnosis.


The prevalence rate of bladder cancer in male patients with LUTS is low. This study adds to information that microscopy and cytological examination are not useful to detect bladder cancer. Due to the economic concerns and burden of unnecessary investigations, the routine use of these tests is in doubt.

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Lower urinary tract symptoms


Carcinoma in situ


International prostate symptoms score


Benign prostate hyperplasia


Transurethral resection of prostate


Positive predictive value


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Correspondence to Eddie S. Y. Chan.

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Chan, E.S.Y., Ng, C., Hou, S. et al. Using urine microscopy and cytology for early detection of bladder cancer in male patients with lower urinary tract symptoms. Int Urol Nephrol 43, 289–294 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11255-010-9856-y

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  • Bladder cancer
  • Urine cytology
  • Urine microscopy
  • Screening
  • LUTS