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Urothelial (transitional cell) papilloma of the urinary bladder: a clinicopathologic study of 26 cases.

The existence of a papillary lesion of the urinary bladder with a benign clinical course and recognizable morphologic features that merit the benign categorization "papilloma" has been controversial. The clinical aspects and histologic features of these lesions remain to be fully elucidated. We have studied the clinicopathologic features of 26 patients with urothelial papillomas and correlated them with outcome. Papillomas occurred in two distinct clinical settings: (1) de novo neoplasms (23/26) or (2) those occurring in patients with a known clinical history of bladder cancer ("secondary" papillomas; 3/26). Follow-up information was available in 14/23 of the de novo cases (mean = 39 mo) and in 3/3 secondary cases (mean = 24 mo). Patients with de novo papillomas had a mean age of 46 years; 16 were male and 7 were female. Twelve of 14 had a benign clinical course with no recurrences; 1 developed a recurrent papilloma at 3 years, and 1 developed a pT3a high-grade papillary urothelial carcinoma at 4 years. Patients with secondary papillomas had a mean age of 66 years; two were male and one was a female. One of these patients developed two additional recurrences, and two patients had no new recurrences. Morphologically, the papillary architecture ranged from a common simple, nonhierarchical arrangement to, infrequently, more complex anastomosing papillae with budding. The individual papillae ranged from small (most common), with scant stroma and slender fibrovascular cores, to large, with marked stromal edema and/or cystitis cystica-like urothelial invaginations. Common to all was a lining of normal-appearing urothelium without hyperplasia, maintenance of normal polarity, and frequent prominence of the umbrella cell layer. Overall, no patient with a diagnosis of papilloma died of disease; only one patient with a de novo lesion (7.0%) had a recurrent papilloma, and 1/14 (7.0%) progressed to a higher grade and stage of disease, although this patient was on immunosuppressive therapy secondary to a renal transplant. De novo urothelial papillomas occur in younger patients and usually have a benign course. Urothelial papillomas are histologically and probably biologically distinctive tumors and merit distinction from other higher risk papillary neoplasms of the urinary bladder.

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