Urothelial papilloma

By Jason Wasserman MD PhD FRCPC
August 26, 2023

What is a urothelial papilloma?

A urothelial papilloma is a noncancerous type of tumour. It is most commonly found in the bladder although it can develop anywhere along the urinary tract.

Is a urothelial papilloma benign or malignant?

Urothelial papilloma is a benign (noncancerous) type of tumour.

What are the symptoms of a urothelial papilloma?

The most common symptom of a urothelial papilloma is bloody urine. Other symptoms include discomfort when urinating (dysuria) or the need to urinate more frequently.

What causes a urothelial papilloma?

The cause of urothelial papilloma is unknown.

Can a urothelial papilloma change in cancer over time?

Urothelial papilloma will not change into cancer over time.

What is the difference between urothelial papilloma and urothelial carcinoma?

Although the names sound similar, there is a very big difference between a urothelial papilloma and urothelial carcinoma. Most importantly, a urothelial papilloma is a benign (noncancerous) type of tumour that is unlikely to grow back after being removed. In contrast, urothelial carcinoma is a malignant (cancerous) type of tumour that can grow back and spread to other parts of the body.

How is the diagnosis of urothelial papilloma made?

Your doctor may suspect that you have a urothelial papilloma after examining the inside of your bladder with a camera called a cystoscope. The diagnosis, however, can only be made after the tumour is removed and sent to a pathologist for examination under the microscope.

What does a urothelial papilloma look like under the microscope?

When examined under the microscope, urothelial papilloma is made up of normal-appearing urothelial cells connected to form long finger-like projections called papillae. Pathologists often describe this pattern of growth as papillary or exophytic.

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