Review Article

The pathology of urinary bladder lesions with an inverted growth pattern

Aitao Guo, Aijun Liu, Xiaodong Teng


Inverted lesions in the urinary bladder have been the source of some difficulty in urological pathology. The two common ones are von Brunn’s nests and cystitis cystic/cystitis glandularis, which are considered normal variants of urothelium. Apart from them, a number of other rare urothelial lesions with inverted growth pattern occur in the urinary bladder. Some of them are only reactive conditions, just as pseudocarcinomatous hyperplasia. Some are benign tumors, namely inverted papilloma. Whereas others are malignant neoplasms, including inverted papillary urothelial neoplasm of low malignant potential (PUNLMP), non-invasive inverted papillary urothelial carcinoma (low-grade and high-grade), and invasive urothelial carcinoma (inverted, nested and big nested variants). Because of the overlapping morphological features of all the inverted lesions mentioned above, even between high-grade invasive carcinoma and pseudocarcinomatous hyperplasia which are only a kind of reactive conditions, it is very important for the surgical pathologist to recognize and be familiar with these inverted lesions in urinary bladder. In this article, we review these spectrums of inverted lesions of the urinary bladder. Emphasis is placed on histogenesis, morphology, differential diagnosis of these lesions, and the pathologic grading of the non-invasive inverted neoplasms, such as inverted papilloma, inverted PUNLMP, non-invasive inverted papillary urothelial carcinoma with low-grade, and non-invasive inverted papillary urothelial carcinoma with high-grade.