Current Urology Reports

, 15:437 | Cite as

Confocal Laser Endomicroscopy of Bladder and Upper Tract Urothelial Carcinoma: A New Era of Optical Diagnosis?

  • Stephanie P. Chen
  • Joseph C. LiaoEmail author
Urothelial Cancer (A Sagalowsky, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Urothelial Cancer


Urothelial carcinoma of the bladder and upper tract pose significant diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. White light endoscopy plays a central role in the management of urothelial carcinoma but has several well-recognized shortcomings. New optical imaging technologies may improve diagnostic accuracy, enhance local cancer control, and better stratify treatment options. Confocal laser endomicroscopy enables dynamic imaging of the cellular structures below the mucosal surface and holds promise in providing real time optical diagnosis and grading of urothelial carcinoma. A variety of imaging probes are available that are compatible with the full spectrum of cystoscopes and ureteroscopes. We review the underlying principles and technique of confocal laser endomicroscopy in the urinary tract, with emphasis on specific application towards urothelial carcinoma. While the available data are largely related to urothelial carcinoma of the bladder, the lessons learned are directly applicable to the upper tract, where the clinical needs are significant. Ongoing efforts to optimize this technology offer an exciting glimpse into future advances in optical imaging and intraoperative image guidance.


Urothelial carcinoma Bladder cancer Upper tract Optical imaging Microscopy 



The authors thank current and past members of the Liao Laboratory, particularly Katherine Wu and Kathy Mach, for technical support and helpful discussions. Funding support was provided in part by Stanford University School of Medicine MedScholars Fellowship (to S.P.C.) and NIH R01 CA160986 (to J.C.L.).

Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Stephanie P. Chen and Dr. Joseph C. Liao each declare no potential conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of UrologyStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care SystemPalo AltoUSA

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