Accurate staging of bladder cancer (BC) is critical, with local tumor staging directly influencing management decisions and affecting prognosis. However, clinical staging based on clinical examination, including cystoscopy and transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT), often understages patients compared to final pathology at radical cystectomy and lymph node (LN) dissection, mainly due to underestimation of the depth of local invasion and the presence of LN metastasis. MRI has now become established as the modality of choice for the local staging of BC and can be additionally utilized for the assessment of regional LN involvement and tumor spread to the pelvic bones and upper urinary tract (UUT). The recent development of the Vesical Imaging-Reporting and Data System (VI-RADS) recommendations has led to further improvements in bladder MRI, enabling standardization of image acquisition and reporting. Multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) incorporating morphological and functional imaging has been proven to further improve the accuracy of primary and recurrent tumor detection and local staging, and has shown promise in predicting tumor aggressiveness and monitoring response to therapy. These sequences can also be utilized to perform radiomics, which has shown encouraging initial results in predicting BC grade and local stage. In this article, the current state of evidence supporting MRI in local, regional, and distant staging in patients with BC is reviewed. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 3 TECHNICAL EFFICACY STAGE: 2.© 2020 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.
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