Open Access Research article

Clinical significance of subepithelial growth patterns in non-muscle invasive bladder cancer

Makito Miyake1*, Shuya Hirao1, Hisakazu Mibu1, Masahiro Tanaka2, Kenji Takashima3, Keiji Shimada4 and Kazuya Hirao1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Urology, Hirao Hospital, 6-28 Hyobu-cho, Kashihara-shi, Nara, Japan

2 Department of Urology, Osaka Kaisei Hospital, 1-6-10 Miyahara Yodogawa-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka, Japan

3 Takashima Urologic Clinic, 1-1-5 Naizen-cho, Kashihara-shi, Nara, Japan

4 Department of Pathology, Nara Medical University, 840 Shijyo-cho, Kashihara-shi, Nara, Japan

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BMC Urology 2011, 11:17  doi:10.1186/1471-2490-11-17

Published: 5 August 2011



We evaluated the clinical significance and prognostic value of histopathological features of bladder cancer, such as subepithelial growth patterns and tumor growth pattern at the invasion front.


In total, 130 patients newly diagnosed with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer and underwent transurethral resection between 1998 and 2009 were enrolled. Subepithelial growth patterns consisting of endophytic growth pattern (EGP) and von Brunn's nest involvement (VBNI) were investigated using hematoxylin and eosin-stained slides, and their frequency of occurrence, prognostic value, and correlation with other clinicopathological features was evaluated.


EGP and VBNI were found in 40 (30.8%) and 5 (3.9%) of the 130 cases, respectively. Of the 26 pT1 tumors, the growth pattern at the invasion front was trabecular in 17 (65.4%) and infiltrative in 9 (34.6%). Although 8 (47.1%) of 17 trabecular tumors coexisted with EGP, no cases with infiltrative tumors had EGP (p = 0.023). VBNI correlated with high tumor grades (p = 0.006) and lymphovascular involvement (p = 0.026). The multivariate Cox proportional hazards analysis revealed that tumor diameter less than 3 cm (p = 0.04) and intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guérin therapy (p = 0.004) were independent favorable prognostic factors for recurrence-free survival, whereas tumor stage was an independent poor prognostic factor for disease progression (p = 0.006).


Subepithelial growth patterns were not a significant prognostic factor in this study. Additionally, no tumors with an infiltrative growth pattern coexisted with EGP, suggesting that determining the presence of EGP might be helpful for managing non-muscle invasive bladder cancers.

bladder cancer; endophytic growth pattern; prognostic factor; infiltrative pattern