Bladder Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Recurrent Bladder Cancer
The prognosis for any patient with progressive or recurrent invasive bladder cancer is generally poor. Management of recurrence depends on prior therapy, sites of recurrence, and individual patient considerations. Treatment of new superficial or locally invasive tumors that develop in the setting of previous conservative therapy for superficial bladder neoplasia has been discussed earlier in this summary. Recurrent or progressive disease in distant sites or after definitive local therapy has an extremely poor prognosis, and clinical trials should be considered whenever possible.
In patients with recurrent transitional cell carcinoma, combination chemotherapy has produced high response rates with occasional complete responses seen.[1,2] Results from a randomized trial that compared M-VAC (methotrexate, vinblastine, doxorubicin, and cisplatin) with single-agent cisplatin in advanced bladder cancer show a significant advantage with M-VAC in both response rate and median survival. The overall response rate with M-VAC in this cooperative group trial was 39%. Other chemotherapy agents that have shown activity in metastatic bladder cancer include: paclitaxel, ifosfamide, gallium nitrate, gemcitabine, and pemetrexed. Ifosfamide, gallium, and pemetrexed have shown limited activity in patients previously treated with cisplatin.[4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11]
In its early stages, bladder cancer may not have obvious symptoms. In the later stages, symptoms of bladder cancer may include:
Bloody urine, most often painless, is the most common symptom. The urine color ranges from faintly rusty to deep red, sometimes containing blood clots. Blood traces, invisible to the naked eye, may show up in tests of urine samples.
Frequent urinary tract infections, painful urination, a need to urinate often, and difficulty holding in urine.
Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with recurrent bladder cancer. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.
General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.
Sternberg CN, Yagoda A, Scher HI, et al.: Methotrexate, vinblastine, doxorubicin, and cisplatin for advanced transitional cell carcinoma of the urothelium. Efficacy and patterns of response and relapse. Cancer 64 (12): 2448-58, 1989.
Harker WG, Meyers FJ, Freiha FS, et al.: Cisplatin, methotrexate, and vinblastine (CMV): an effective chemotherapy regimen for metastatic transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary tract. A Northern California Oncology Group study. J Clin Oncol 3 (11): 1463-70, 1985.
Loehrer PJ Sr, Einhorn LH, Elson PJ, et al.: A randomized comparison of cisplatin alone or in combination with methotrexate, vinblastine, and doxorubicin in patients with metastatic urothelial carcinoma: a cooperative group study. J Clin Oncol 10 (7): 1066-73, 1992.
Roth BJ: Preliminary experience with paclitaxel in advanced bladder cancer. Semin Oncol 22 (3 Suppl 6): 1-5, 1995.
Witte RS, Elson P, Bono B, et al.: Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group phase II trial of ifosfamide in the treatment of previously treated advanced urothelial carcinoma. J Clin Oncol 15 (2): 589-93, 1997.
Einhorn LH, Roth BJ, Ansari R, et al.: Phase II trial of vinblastine, ifosfamide, and gallium combination chemotherapy in metastatic urothelial carcinoma. J Clin Oncol 12 (11): 2271-6, 1994.
Pollera CF, Ceribelli A, Crecco M, et al.: Weekly gemcitabine in advanced bladder cancer: a preliminary report from a phase I study. Ann Oncol 5 (2): 182-4, 1994.
Seidman AD, Scher HI, Heinemann MH, et al.: Continuous infusion gallium nitrate for patients with advanced refractory urothelial tract tumors. Cancer 68 (12): 2561-5, 1991.
Roth BJ: Ifosfamide in the treatment of bladder cancer. Semin Oncol 23 (3 Suppl 6): 50-5, 1996.
Bajorin DF: Paclitaxel in the treatment of advanced urothelial cancer. Oncology (Huntingt) 14 (1): 43-52, 57; discussion 58, 61-2, 2000.
Sweeney CJ, Roth BJ, Kabbinavar FF, et al.: Phase II study of pemetrexed for second-line treatment of transitional cell cancer of the urothelium. J Clin Oncol 24 (21): 3451-7, 2006.