Bladder biopsies in step with clinical side
William Check, PhD
A minor but biologically meaningful revision in the new classification for interpreting
bladder tumor biopsies is the change from "transitional cell carcinoma" to "urothelial
carcinoma." "The big push for that came out of work in the early 50s from grandfather
of urologic pathology, Meyer Melicow, MD, at Columbia," says Michael Cohen,
MD, head of the Department of Pathology at University of Iowa Health Care. "Dr.
Melicow was a representative of that era of urologic pathology in which surgeons
were trained in a subspecialty." He was a surgeon designated by his department
to be a urologic pathologist. "When he coined the term ’urothelium,’ it met
with some resistance among pathologists," Dr. Cohen says. "Their thought was
if you had to have urothelium, you might have to have gastrothelium. In hindsight,
Dr. Melicow was on the mark." It has become clear that the epithelium that lines
the bladder and the rest of the urinary tract is unique. "Urothelium" is now
preferred to "transitional cell."
William Check is a medical writer in Wilmette, Ill.