Intravesical gemcitabine in combination with mitomycin C as salvage treatment in recurrent non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer

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To evaluate oncological outcomes after combination intravesical therapy with gemcitabine (GC) and mitomycin C (MMC) in the setting of recurrent non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) after failure of previous intravesical therapy.

Patients and Methods

We retrospectively identified patients with recurrent NMIBC after previous intravesical therapy, who refused or were not candidates for cystectomy, between 2005 and 2011. GC and MMC were sequentially instilled weekly for 6–8 weeks. Data were collected regarding patient demographics, bladder cancer history, and number and type of intravesical therapies before GC/MMC. Outcomes evaluated included time to recurrence and/or progression after GC/MMC. Recurrence-free outcomes were estimated using the Kaplan–Meier method, and Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to test the association of clinicopathological features with outcomes.


In all, 27 patients were identified, 23 with high-risk disease (high-grade or carcinoma in situ) and four with intermediate-risk disease (multifocal or recurrent low-grade). All patients received prior intravesical therapy, and 17 patients (63%) received multiple courses. Twenty-four patients were treated with BCG. The median (range) disease-free survival of all patients was 15.2 (1.7–39.3) months. Seventeen patients (63%) developed recurrent bladder cancer, a median of 15.2 months after therapy. One patient progressed to muscle-invasive disease 5 months after treatment, and one developed metastatic disease 22 months after treatment. Three patients went on to cystectomy. Ten patients (37%) had no evidence of disease at last follow-up, with a median follow-up of 22.1 months.


The combination of intravesical GC and MMC could offer durable recurrence-free survival to some patients with recurrent NMIBC who are not candidates for, or refuse, cystectomy.

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