Thus far, the role of adjuvant radiotherapy (RT) after radical cystectomy (RC) in urinary bladder cancer patients has yet to be defined. The purpose of this study is to analyze patterns of failure, and suggest the rationale for RT. Between 1986 and 2005, a total of 259 patients treated with RC and pelvic lymph node dissection was enrolled. The age range was 27-82 yr (median, 62 yr). Node positivity increased according to tumor staging. Patients were divided into the following two groups based on pathologic analysis: organ-confined disease group (n=135) and extravesical/lymph node-positive disease group (n=80). Pelvic failures (PF) were observed in 8 (4.9%) in organ-confined disease group, and 21 (21.7%) in extravesical/lymph node-positive disease group. Five-year PF-free survival rates were 91.2% in organ-confined disease group and 68.0% in extravesical/lymph node-positive disease group. Five-year cancer-specific survival rates were 86.2% in organ-confined disease group and 53.9% in extravesical/lymph node-positive disease group. In conclusion, a relatively high PF rate was observed in extravesical lymph node-negative and lymph node-positive disease patients in this study. Adjuvant pelvic RT may be considered to reduce pelvic failures in extravesical lymph node-positive bladder cancer. Future prospective trials are required to test the clinical benefit of adjuvant RT
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