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Bladder Cancer Health Center

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Bladder Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Stages II and III Bladder Cancer Treatment


Evidence (EBRT with or without concomitant chemotherapy):

TUR followed by chemoradiation therapy

  1. A multicenter phase III trial randomly assigned 360 patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer to radiation therapy with or without synchronous chemotherapy using fluorouracil and mitomycin C.[22]
    • Two-year locoregional disease-free survival was higher in the chemoradiation therapy group (67% vs. 54%; HR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.48-0.96; P = .03). Five-year OS was 48% in the chemoradiation therapy group and 35% in the radiation therapy group, but the difference was not statistically significant (P = .16).
  2. Similarly, synchronous chemoradiation therapy using other chemotherapy regimens, such as cisplatin alone or combined with fluorouracil, have reported 5-year OS rates of 50% to 60% and survival with an intact bladder in 40% to 45% of patients, figures that are higher than has generally been reported in studies of radiation therapy alone.[23]

TUR followed by chemoradiation therapy

  1. In some nonrandomized studies, 50% or more of the patients who underwent bladder-preserving therapy (i.e., initial TUR of as much tumor as possible followed by concurrent chemoradiation therapy) were alive at 5 years, and 75% of those survivors had an intact bladder.[24,25,26]

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy

  1. A randomized controlled trial randomly assigned 99 patients with T2 to T4b urothelial carcinoma of the bladder to radiation therapy with or without three 14-day cycles of cisplatin (100 mg/m2 on day 1). Patients and their physicians chose whether the radiation therapy was definitive or administered as precystectomy treatment. The pelvic relapse rate was reduced (multivariable regression model HR, 0.50; 90% CI, 0.29-0.86; P = .036), but there was no difference in the occurrence of distant metastases or OS. The reduction in pelvic relapse was similar in patients who received definitive radiation therapy and precystectomy radiation therapy.[27]

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by chemoradiation therapy

  1. In a phase III study (RTOG-8903), the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group evaluated the potential benefit of adding two cycles of neoadjuvant methotrexate, cisplatin, and vinblastine before concurrent cisplatin and radiation therapy. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy was associated with increased hematologic toxic effects and yielded no improvement in response rate, freedom from distant metastases, or OS compared with chemoradiation therapy alone.[28]
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