Adjuvant chemotherapy of bladder cancer

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Abstract

Background

Bladder cancer is one of the most common genitourinary cancer. 1/3 of patients presents with invasive disease. Radical cystectomy is the standard treatment for patients with muscle invasive disease: although local treatment can be curative, about 50% of patients will develop distant metastases. Optimal treatment for high risk patients includes local and perioperative systemic therapy (adjuvant or neoadjuvant chemotherapy).

Patients and methods

We performed a review of clinical trials and metanalysis of adjuvant treatment for muscle-invasive bladder cancer.

Results

Data from single published trials of adjuvant chemotherapy (CT) are not univocal, and several methodological problems were found. A recent meta-analysis of individual patient data (IPD) from all eligible published and unpublished trials, found that adjuvant chemotherapy administration provides a significant survival and disease free survival advantage. Two large, multi-center, randomized trials are on-going to clarify the role of post-operative CT.

Conclusions

A trend in favour of adjuvant chemotherapy comes out from some of the trials reviewed by us and by the metanalysis performed by the ABC collaborative group. However it is not clear yet which patients might derive the maximum benefit from such an approach and which ones might be safety candidate to deferred treatment, on relapse. The incoming results of the EORTC trial and of the Italian trial which are currently comparing the value of early vs. deferred treatment of patients at higher risk of relapse will probably provide an adequate answer to this question. Outside clinical trials, the potential benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy should be appropriately weighted versus the putative hazards and decision making appropriately tailored in the individual patients according to the aggressiveness of his/her disease and the presence of comorbidities.

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