Background: Lymphovascular invasion (LVI) is an important step in the process of tumor dissemination and metastasis outside the primary organ, but the relationship between LVI and the prognosis of T1 non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) has not been fully evaluated. Accordingly, the present study was performed to evaluate whether LVI had an impact on the clinical outcome in patients with T1 NMIBC. Methods: A total of 116 consecutive patients were diagnosed with T1 NMIBC from 1994 to 2013 at Keio University Hospital. All cases were reviewed by a single uro-pathologist. The prognostic significance of LVI was assessed in relation to recurrence and stage progression. Results: The median follow-up period was 53 months. LVI was histologically confirmed in 30 patients (25.9%). There were no significant differences of clinical features between the patients with and without LVI. In T1 patients, univariate analysis demonstrated that LVI positivity was associated with stage progression (p = 0.003), but not with tumor recurrence (p = 0.192). Multivariate analysis confirmed that LVI was independently associated with stage progression (p = 0.006, hazard ratio = 4.00). In 85 patients who received BCG instillation, LVI was independently associated with both tumor recurrence and stage progression (p = 0.036 and 0.024, hazard ratio = 2.19 and 3.76). Conclusions: LVI is a strong indicator of an increased risk of recurrence and progression in BCG-treated patients with T1 NMIBC. This information might assist clinicians to develop appropriate management and counseling strategies for these patients.
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