Context: Radical cystectomy continues to be associated with a significant risk of morbidity and all-cause mortality (ACM). Practice pattern data demonstrating underuse of surgery for patients with muscle-invasive and high-risk non–muscle invasive bladder cancer (BC) have been linked to the advanced age and higher comorbidity status of such patients, which suggests that rates of ACM as well as cancer-specific mortality should be incorporated into patient counseling and guideline recommendations. Objective: To review the literature on risk assessment tools for preoperative comorbidity in BC that may aid in treatment decision-making. Evidence acquisition: A systematic search was conducted using Ovid and Medline according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses guidelines to identify studies between 1970 and 2017 reporting on comorbidity risk assessment (CRA) tools for BC. Prospective and retrospective studies were included. Evidence synthesis: There are no published randomized control trials comparing CRA tools for BC. Patients undergoing radical cystectomy with combined high-risk comorbidity and performance scores may face up to a sevenfold greater risk of other-cause mortality compared to those with low scores. The Charlson Comorbidity Index is one of the most widely studied indices for 90-d perioperative mortality and overall and cancer-specific survival, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of up to 0.810. Prospective studies of CRA tools for BC have consistently shown that patients with higher comorbidity have worse outcomes. While not specific for BC, comorbidity indices provide useful assessment of competing risks. Competing-risks assessment tools are lacking, with limited studies assessing the impact of these tools on treatment decision-making by patients and providers. We provide the impetus for incorporation of comorbidity risks into practice guidelines when discussing treatment options with patients. Conclusions: CRA tools should be incorporated into preoperative treatment counseling and the assessment of postoperative outcomes. While retrospective evidence supports the use of CRA tools for BC, further comparative studies evaluating the effectiveness of these tools and identifying the patients most likely to benefit from a treatment according to competing-risks assessment are needed. Patient summary: In this review we explored the clinical evidence for comorbidity risk assessment tools in bladder cancer. We found evidence to support incorporation of comorbidity risks into practice guidelines when discussing treatment options with patients. Comorbidity risk assessment tools for bladder cancer are increasingly being explored. While retrospective evidence supports the use of comorbidity risk assessment tools for bladder cancer, further comparative studies evaluating the effectiveness of these tools and identifying patients most likely to benefit from a treatment according to competing-risks assessment are needed.
- Bladder cancer
- Competing risks
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging