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Cystitis in patients with cancer

Beverly Moy, MD, MPH
Section Editors
Reed E Drews, MD
Steven E Schild, MD
Deputy Editor
Diane MF Savarese, MD


Cystitis is common in patients with cancer. The most serious form, hemorrhagic cystitis (HC), occurs in 10 to 40 percent of patients receiving high-dose chemotherapy [1]; autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) recipients are particularly at risk [2,3]. Severe HC is less frequent even in HCT recipients, accounting for 10 percent or less in several series; however, it can be fatal.

Cystitis in patients with cancer can be separated into three broad categories:

Cystitis can result from primary bladder cancer or adjacent cancers that encroach upon the bladder from the prostate, uterus, cervix, or rectum. These neoplasms can lead to tumor necrosis with ulceration.

Infectious cystitis can develop since cancer patients are immunocompromised.

HC can result directly from antineoplastic treatment. Radiation cystitis may result when the bladder is within the radiation treatment volume during treatment for pelvic neoplasms, such as prostate or cervical cancer. Chemotherapy-induced cystitis can arise from agents directly instilled into the bladder as part of a treatment program for superficial cancer of the bladder or for toxic metabolites of renally excreted antineoplastic agents, which come in contact with the bladder.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: May 09, 2016.
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