Non-visible haematuria for the Detection of Bladder, Upper Tract, and Kidney Cancer: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Ibrahim Jubber, Shahrokh F. Shariat, Samantha Conroy, Wei Shen Tan, Patrick C. Gordon, Yair Lotan, Edward M. Messing, Arnulf Stenzl, Bas van Rhijn, John D. Kelly, James W.F. Catto, Marcus G. Cumberbatch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Context: Non-visible haematuria (NVH) is a common finding and may indicate undiagnosed urological cancer. The optimal investigation of NVH is unclear, given the incidence of cancer and the public health implications of testing all individuals with this finding. Objective: We review contemporary literature to determine the association of NVH with the diagnosis of bladder cancer (BC), upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC), and kidney cancer (KC). Evidence acquisition: A systematic review of original articles in English was completed in May 2019. Meta-analyses for the diagnostic accuracy of NVH and urine cytology were performed. Evidence synthesis: We screened 1529 articles and selected 78 manuscripts that fulfilled our inclusion criteria for narrative synthesis. Forty manuscripts were eligible for a meta-analysis (reporting 19 193 persons). The likelihood of a urological cancer in patients with NVH increased with age (<1% in those aged <40 yr), male sex, and cigarette smoking. Less than 1% of patients are found to have a urological cancer after a negative NVH evaluation. Cancer detection rates in individuals evaluated for NVH ranged from 0% to 16% for BC in 37 studies, 0% to 3.5% for UTUC in 30 studies, and 0% to 9.7% for KC in 29 studies. Substantial statistical heterogeneity was present for the meta-analysis of detection rates. Conclusions: We present an up-to-date review of the association of NVH with the diagnosis of BC, UTUC, and KC. Individuals with dipstick positive haematuria aged ≥40 yr, who have had potential precipitating causes excluded, should undergo an evaluation. Re-evaluation of patients with unremarkable initial investigations should be performed in high-risk patients or if new symptoms occur. Patient summary: One in five people have microscopic traces of blood in their urine. This is an important indicator of urological cancer. Investigating all patients is uncomfortable and expensive. We evaluate the risk of cancer and estimate risks to groups of individuals. Up to 20% of the general population have non-visible haematuria (NVH). NVH is an important indicator of urological malignancy, particularly in individuals ≥40 yr of age. Evaluation should include cystoscopy and upper tract imaging in the form of ultrasound or computed tomography urogram.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-598
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean urology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Microscopic haematuria
  • Non-visible haematuria
  • Upper tract urothelial cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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