Urothelial cells

The Pathology Dictionary Team
April 13, 2023

What are urothelial cells?

Urothelial cells are specialized cells that cover the inside surface of the urinary tract including the bladder, ureters, and urethra. These cells connect to form a barrier called the urothelium. Urothelial cells are sometimes described as transitional cells.

Urothelial cells
Urothelial cells. This picture shows urothelial cells from a urine cytology sample.

What types of cancers start from urothelial cells?

There are several types of cancer that can start from urothelial cells but the most common two types are urothelial carcinoma and papillary carcinoma. If the cancer cells are only seen in the urothelium, the disease is called urothelial carcinoma in situ.

Urothelial cells in urothelial carcinoma in situ
Urothelial carcinoma in situ. This picture shows a non-invasive type of cancer made up of urothelial cells.
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