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Non-urothelial bladder cancer

David I Quinn, MBBS (Hons I), PhD, FRACP, FACP
Section Editors
Seth P Lerner, MD
Derek Raghavan, MD, PhD, FACP, FASCO
Deputy Editor
Michael E Ross, MD


Bladder cancers are the most common genitourinary malignancy in both men and women. They are broadly categorized as urothelial and non-urothelial. (See "Pathology of bladder neoplasms".)

The clinical features and treatment of non-urothelial bladder cancers will be reviewed here. Small cell carcinoma of the bladder is discussed elsewhere, as is an overview of urothelial bladder cancer. (See "Small cell carcinoma of the bladder" and "Overview of the initial approach and management of urothelial bladder cancer".)


Non-urothelial bladder cancer accounts for less than 5 percent of all bladder tumors [1]. Approximately 90 percent of non-urothelial bladder cancers are epithelial in origin, and these include squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and small cell carcinoma.

Non-epithelial tumors include sarcoma, carcinosarcoma, paraganglioma, melanoma, and lymphoma. Risk factors for non-urothelial bladder cancers are discussed below in specific sections for different tumor types. (See 'Non-epithelial bladder tumors' below.)


The pathogenesis of non-urothelial bladder cancers is incompletely understood. Both the development of metaplasia and the presence of chronic infection are believed to be important factors in tumorigenesis. Alternative hypotheses include the development of non-urothelial bladder cancers from preexisting urothelial (transitional cell) carcinomas that undergo metaplasia [2], and tumor development from multipotent stem cells in the bladder.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Dec 13, 2016.
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