Current Urology Reports

, 20:82 | Cite as

Imaging in Localized Bladder Cancer: Can Current Diagnostic Modalities Provide Accurate Local Tumor Staging?

  • Sandeep Gurram
  • Akhil Muthigi
  • Jillian Egan
  • Lambros StamatakisEmail author
New Imaging Techniques (S Rais-Bahrami and K Porter, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on New Imaging Techniques


Purpose of Review

Local tumor staging is paramount in the evaluation and management of bladder cancer. While neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) followed by radical cystectomy and urinary diversion remains the gold standard for management of muscle-invasive bladder cancer, bladder-sparing regimens involving systemic chemotherapy and pelvic radiotherapy remain a viable option for select patients. Moreover, pre-cystectomy identification of patients with a complete response to NAC may obviate the need for radical cystectomy, but accurate post-therapy staging can be difficult to achieve. Contemporary imaging techniques may provide additional benefit in local tumor staging beyond standard imaging and cystoscopic biopsy. Our purpose is to summarize the ability of different imaging modalities to accurately stage bladder cancer patients in the treatment-naïve and post-chemotherapy settings.

Recent Findings

Contemporary investigations have been studying multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (mp-MRI) in the evaluation of bladder cancer. Its recent incorporation into bladder cancer staging is mainly being assessed in treatment-naïve patients; however, different sequences are being studied to assess their accuracy after the introduction of chemotherapy and possibly radiation. Multiple recent studies incorporating cystoscopy and biopsy are proving to be less accurate than originally predicted.


Imaging has generally had a very limited role in guiding therapy in localized bladder cancer, but with the incorporation of newer sequences and techniques, imaging is poised to become vital in decision-making strategies of this cancer. Reliable local tumor staging through improved imaging may help better select patients for bladder-sparing treatments while maintaining optimized oncologic outcomes and allow this paradigm to become more acceptable in the urologic oncology community.


Bladder cancer Imaging Bladder tumor staging 



This research was supported in part by the Intramural Research Program of the National Cancer Institute, NIH.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Sandeep Gurram, Akhil Muthigi, Jillian Egan, and Lambros Stamatakis 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, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandeep Gurram
    • 1
  • Akhil Muthigi
    • 2
  • Jillian Egan
    • 2
  • Lambros Stamatakis
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Urologic Oncology Branch, National Cancer InstituteNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Department of UrologyMedStar Georgetown University HospitalWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of UrologyMedStar Washington Hospital CenterWashingtonUSA

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