The Impact of Perioperative Blood Transfusion on Cancer Recurrence and Survival Following Radical Cystectomy
Linder BJ, Frank I, Cheville JC, Tollefson MK, Thompson RH, Tarrell RF, Thapa P, Boorjian SA.Eur Urol. 2013 Jan 11. pii: S0302-2838(13)00007-9. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2013.01.004. [Epub ahead of print]


Department of Urology, Mayo Medical School and Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.



While the receipt of a perioperative blood transfusion (PBT) has been associated with an increased risk of mortality for a number of malignancies, the relationship between PBT and survival following radical cystectomy (RC) for bladder cancer (BCa) has not been well established.


To evaluate the association of PBT with disease recurrence and mortality following RC.


We identified 2060 patients who underwent RC at the Mayo Clinic between 1980 and 2005. PBT was defined as transfusion of allogenic red blood cells during RC or postoperative hospitalization.


Survival was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method and was compared with the log-rank test. Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to evaluate the association of PBT with outcome, controlling for clinicopathologic variables.


A total of 1279 patients (62%) received PBT. The median number of units transfused was 2 (interquartile range [IQR]: 2-4). Patients receiving PBT were significantly older (median: 69 yrvs 66 yr; p<0.0001), had a worse Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (p<0.0001), and were more likely to have muscle-invasive tumors (56% vs 49%; p=0.004). Median postoperative follow-up was 10.9 yr (IQR: 7.9-15.7). Receipt of PBT was associated with significantly worse 5-yr recurrence-free survival (58% vs 64%; p=0.01), cancer-specific survival (59% vs 72%; p<0.001), and overall survival (45% vs 63%; p<0.001). On multivariate analyses, PBT remained associated with significantly increased risks of postoperative tumor recurrence (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.20; p=0.04), death from BCa (HR: 1.31; p=0.003), and all-cause mortality (HR: 1.27; p=0.0002). Among patients who received PBT, an increasing number of units transfused was independently associated with increased cancer-specific mortality (HR: 1.07; p<0.0001) and all-cause mortality (HR: 1.05; p<0.0001). Limitations include selection bias and lack of standardized transfusion criteria.


We found that PBT is associated with significantly increased risks of cancer recurrence and mortality following RC. While external validation is required, continued efforts to reduce the use of blood products in these patients are warranted.