Can urologists accurately stage and grade urothelial bladder cancer by assessing endoscopic photographs?

Snir Dekalo*, Haim Matzkin, Nicola J. Mabjeesh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Assessment of urothelial bladder cancer during cystoscopy or transurethral resection of bladder tumour has a significant impact on the urologist's decision-making: treatment with simple outpatient fulguration, required depth of resection, and need of immediate post-surgical intravesical therapy. These choices depend heavily on the urologist's ability to accurately assess pre-biopsy tumour stage and grade. The aim of the study was to determine whether evaluation of photographs taken during transurethral resection of bladder tumour can reliably characterize a tumour’s stage and grade. Methods: Smartphone photographs of 50 urothelial bladder cancer cases were taken at the beginning of transurethral resection of bladder tumour and individually presented to seven senior urologists. All urologists were blinded to the final pathological report and to any other urological evaluation. Each one was asked to rate the tumour as low vs high grade and noninvasive Ta vs noninvasive T1 or muscle invasive. Results were compared with final pathology. Individual appraisal and the majority's opinion were evaluated. Results: Urologists have correctly predicted tumour stage and grade in 63.5% of cases (222 of 350, average of 32 out of 50 accurate assessments). The final majority assessment was correct in 40 of 50 cases (80%). Sensitivity and specificity of the final results for the diagnosis of T1 or higher were 80% and 88.6%, respectively. Sensitivity and specificity for Ta low grade were 83.3% and 80%, respectively. Conclusions: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first documented attempt to evaluate urologists' ability to assess urothelial bladder cancer stage and grade using endoscopic photographs. Urologists can usually identify stage and grade of urothelial bladder cancer but accuracy increases when multiple senior urologists examine the same photographs and achieve majority consensus. Presenting photographs of urothelial bladder cancer to a team of urologists may lead to an excellent decision regarding type and extent of surgical treatment and substantiate appropriate post-surgical management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-607
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Telemedicine and Telecare
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Teleconsulting
  • bladder carcinoma
  • endoscopy


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