Skip to content

Bladder Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Bladder Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - General Information About Bladder Cancer

Incidence and Mortality

Estimated new cases and deaths from bladder cancer in the United States in 2013:[1]

Recommended Related to Cancer

Stage IV and Recurrent Gastric Cancer

Standard treatment options: Palliative chemotherapy with: Fluorouracil (5-FU).[1,2,3]Epirubicin, cisplatin, and 5-FU (ECF).[4,5]Epirubicin, oxaliplatin, and capecitabine (EOX).[6]Cisplatin and 5-FU (CF).[7,3]Docetaxel, cisplatin, and 5-FU.[8]Etoposide, leucovorin, and 5-FU (ELF).[9]5-FU, doxorubicin, and methotrexate (FAMTX).[7] Trastuzumab, cisplatin, and either 5-FU or capecitabine in patients with HER2-positive tumors (3+ on immunohistochemistry [IHC] or fluorescence in situ...

Read the Stage IV and Recurrent Gastric Cancer article > >

  • New cases: 72,570.
  • Deaths: 15,210.


Approximately 70% to 80% of patients with newly diagnosed bladder cancer will present with superficial bladder tumors (i.e., stage Ta, Tis, or T1). Those who do present with superficial, noninvasive bladder cancer can often be cured, and those with deeply invasive disease can sometimes be cured by surgery, radiation therapy, or a combination of modalities that include chemotherapy. Studies have demonstrated that some patients with distant metastases have achieved long-term complete response following treatment with combination chemotherapy regimens. There are clinical trials suitable for patients with all stages of bladder cancer; whenever possible, patients should be included in clinical trials designed to improve on standard therapy.

The major prognostic factors in carcinoma of the bladder are the depth of invasion into the bladder wall and the degree of differentiation of the tumor. Most superficial tumors are well differentiated. Patients in whom superficial tumors are less differentiated, large, multiple, or associated with carcinoma in situ (Tis) in other areas of the bladder mucosa are at greatest risk for recurrence and the development of invasive cancer. Such patients may be considered to have the entire urothelial surface at risk for the development of cancer. Tis may exist for variable durations.

Adverse prognostic features associated with a greater risk of disease progression include the presence of multiple aneuploid cell lines, nuclear p53 overexpression, and expression of the Lewis-x blood group antigen.[2,3,4,5] Patients with Tis who have a complete response to bacillus Calmette-Guérin have approximately a 20% risk of disease progression at 5 years; patients with incomplete response have approximately a 95% risk of disease progression.[2] Several treatment methods (i.e., transurethral surgery, intravesical medications, and cystectomy) have been used in the management of patients with superficial tumors, and each method can be associated with 5-year survival in 55% to 80% of patients treated.[2,3,6]

Invasive tumors that are confined to the bladder muscle on pathologic staging after radical cystectomy are associated with approximately a 75% 5-year progression-free survival rate. Patients with more deeply invasive tumors, which are also usually less well differentiated, and those with lymphovascular invasion experience 5-year survival rates of 30% to 50% following radical cystectomy.[7] When the patient presents with locally extensive tumor that invades pelvic viscera or with metastases to lymph nodes or distant sites, 5-year survival is uncommon, but considerable symptomatic palliation can still be achieved.[8]

Expression of the tumor suppressor gene p53 also has been associated with an adverse prognosis for patients with invasive bladder cancer. A retrospective study of 243 patients treated by radical cystectomy found that the presence of nuclear p53 was an independent predictor for recurrence among patients with stage T1, T2, or T3 tumors.[9] Another retrospective study showed p53 expression to be of prognostic value when considered with stage or labeling index.[10]


WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

bladder cancer x-ray
Do you know the warning signs?
man with a doctor
Our health check will steer you in the right direction.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
Lifestyle Tips for Depression Slideshow
Bladder Sparing Cancer Treatment
Vitamin D
Pets Improve Your Health

WebMD Special Sections