LOW DOSE BCG AS ADJUVANT THERAPY FOR SUPERFICIAL BLADDER CANCER AND LITERATURE REVIEW

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Abstract

Background

Bacillus Calmette–Guerin (BCG) at low doses has long been employed as prophylactic and therapeutic treatment for superficial cancer of the urinary bladder, aiming at reducing toxicity while maintaining efficacy. A retrospective review was reported, together with a review of the literature with respect to a low dose BCG regimen.

Methods

Forty-five consecutive patients with superficial bladder cancer (Ta or T1) with one or more of the appropriate criteria (grade above 1, stage above a, size >1 cm, multiple or recurrent), after complete transurethral resection, received 27 mg Connaught strain BCG weekly for 6 weeks. There was no maintenance therapy. Patients were evaluated with urine cytology and cystoscopy. Recurrence, progression and death were analysed.

Results

With a median follow up of 14 (range 3–61) months, 24 (53%) of the 45 patients responded to one course of 6 weekly BCG without recurrence. A further group of 13 (29%) patients responded to a second course of BCG on recurrence. Disease progressed in one (2.2%) patient. Two (4.4%) patients died of an unrelated condition. There was no disease specific mortality. Side-effects were common but well tolerated, with only two (4.4%) cases of treatment interruption.

Conclusions

Low dose BCG could be an alternative option of adjuvant therapy for superficial bladder cancer with acceptable toxicity and good compliance.

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