Prognostic Value of Serum Cholinesterase in Non–muscle-invasive Bladder Cancer



      Serum cholinesterase (ChE) has been reported to be a prognostic factor in several cancers, but its relationship with oncologic outcomes of non–muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) has not yet been well-studied.

      Materials and Methods

      We retrospectively assessed 1117 patients with NMIBC undergoing transurethral resection of the bladder. Cox regression analyses were performed to elucidate the association between preoperative ChE and oncologic outcomes such as recurrence-free survival (RFS) and progression-free survival.


      The median preoperative ChE level was 5.51 kU/L (interquartile range, 4.95-7.01), and the optimal cut-off value of ChE obtained from receiver operator characteristic analysis was 5.55 kU/L. The 5-year RFS in patients with low and normal ChE levels were 41.1% and 70.0%, respectively (P < .001). The 5-year progression-free survival in patients with low and normal ChE levels were 93.2% and 91.4%, respectively (P = .053). On multivariable analysis, ChE was significantly associated with shorter RFS (P < .001). ChE as a continuous variable and low ChE levels improved the C-index for prediction of disease recurrence by 4.0% and 2.7% to 72.4% and 71.1%, respectively. In patients stratified into the European Association of Urology high-risk category, serum ChE was also a strong predictor of disease recurrence (hazard ratio, 4.14; 95% confidence interval, 2.90-5.89). Moreover, in the European Association of Urology high-risk patients treated with bacillus Calmette-Guérin immunotherapy, serum ChE was still strongly correlated with worse RFS (hazard ratio, 5.46; 95% confidence interval, 2.91-10.2).


      Decreased ChE is associated with shorter RFS in patients with NMIBC undergoing transurethral resection of the bladder. Preoperative ChE could improve patients’ risk stratification and selection for adjuvant therapy. The mechanisms underlying this association needs further elucidation to design potential targets for intervention.


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