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Bladder Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Stage IV Bladder Cancer Treatment


Evidence (chemotherapy alone):

  1. Results from a randomized controlled trial that compared MVAC with docetaxel plus cisplatin in 220 patients reported that MVAC was associated with longer OS (median survival, 14.2 months vs. 9.3 months; P = .026).[24]
  2. A randomized trial that compared MVAC with cisplatin, cyclophosphamide, and doxorubicin demonstrated improved response and median survival rates (48 weeks vs. 36 weeks; P = .003) with the MVAC regimen.[25]
  3. Results from a randomized trial that compared MVAC with single-agent cisplatin in advanced bladder cancer also showed a significant advantage with MVAC in both response rate and median survival (12.5 months vs. 8.2 months; P = .002).[26]
  4. A multicenter randomized controlled trial compared CMV with methotrexate plus vinblastine without cisplatin in 214 patients. The relative risk of dying was 0.68 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.51-0.90; P = .0065) in favor of CMV. The median survival was 7 months with CMV and 4.5 months with methotrexate plus vinblastine.[27]
  5. The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) conducted another randomized trial that studied 263 patients with advanced bladder cancer and evaluated the efficacy of a high-dose intensity MVAC regimen administered every 2 weeks with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) versus a classic MVAC regimen administered every 4 weeks.[28]
    • Although there was no significant difference in OS at a median follow-up of 3.2 years (hazard ratio [HR], 0.80; 95% CI, 0.60-1.06; P = .122), an update at a median follow-up of 7.3 years reported that the high-dose intensity MVAC regimen was associated with improved OS (HR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.58-0.99; P = .042), with a 5-year survival rate of 22% compared with 14% in patients treated with the classic MVAC regimen.
    • The high-dose intensity MVAC regimen was also associated with higher response rates (72% vs. 58%; P = .016), improved median progression-free survival (9.5 months vs. 8.1 months; P = .017), and decreased neutropenic fever (10% vs. 26%; P < .001), although only 19% of patients treated with a classic MVAC regimen ever received G-CSF.[28][Level of evidence: 1iiA] An imbalance in baseline prognostic factors (i.e., visceral metastases were found in 37 patients randomly assigned to the high-dose MVAC regimen and 47 patients assigned to the classic MVAC regimen) may account, in part, for these results.
  6. Gemcitabine plus cisplatin.
    • In a multicenter randomized phase III trial that compared GC with the MVAC regimen in 405 patients with advanced or metastatic bladder cancer, GC yielded response rates, time-to-progression, and OS (HR, 1.04; 95% CI, 0.82-1.32; P = .75) similar to MVAC, but GC had a better safety profile and was better tolerated than MVAC.
    • Although this study was not designed to show the equivalence of the two regimens, the similar efficacy and reduced toxic effects of GC make it a reasonable alternative in patients who may not tolerate the MVAC regimen.[29][Level of evidence: 1iiA]
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