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To assess the effect of adjuvant chemotherapy (ACHT; methotrexate, vinblastine, adriamycin and cisplatin, MVAC, or gemcitabine/cisplatin, GC) on the rate of cancer-specific survival and overall survival, as the benefit of ACHT after radical cystectomy (RC) for bladder cancer is controversial.Within a study group of 958 patients treated with RC between 1984 and 2003, we identified 274 (29.0%) with a high risk of progression due to pT3 or pT4 and/or pN1-3 stages. Of these, 129 (46.6%) received ACHT (MVAC in 103, GC in 26). These patients were then matched with the remaining patients who were unexposed to ACHT. Exact matches were made for pT stage, tumour grade, pN stage and lymphovascular invasion. Age (±5 years) and year of surgery (±5 years) were calliper-matched. Matching resulted in 62 patients treated with RC/ACHT and 65 treated with RC alone. Kaplan-Meier, life-table and Cox regression analyses were used to assess cancer-specific and overall survival.There was no statistically significant difference in cancer-specific survival probabilities at 5 years after RC between the two groups (relative risk 1.2; P = 0.5). There was also no difference in overall survival at 5 years (1.1; P = 0.7). In multivariable analyses the delivery of adjuvant chemotherapy was not an independent predictor for survival endpoints (P= 0.3 for cancer-specific and 0.3 for overall survival).This matched case-control analysis showed that either MVAC or GC chemotherapy had no effect on cancer-specific or overall survival after RC in high-risk patients. Further randomized long-term studies are necessary to confirm these results.