Bacillus Calmette-Guérin and intravesical chemotherapy represent viable adjuvant options for intermediate risk nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer. Although bacillus Calmette-Guérin is perceived as less tolerable than intravesical chemotherapy, to our knowledge no comparative studies have addressed quality of life issues. We compared the quality of life of patients with nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer who received adjuvant intravesical gemcitabine or 1/3 dose bacillus Calmette-Guérin.Materials and Methods:
Our multicenter, prospective, randomized, phase II study included 120 patients with intermediate risk nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer. Of these patients 88 remained assessable at 1-year followup. Only 1 patient was withdrawn because of adverse events. Overall 61 patients received 2,000 mg/50 cc gemcitabine weekly for 6 weeks (maintenance monthly for 1 year) while 59 received 1/3 dose bacillus Calmette-Guérin Connaught weekly for 6 weeks (maintenance 3 weekly instillations at 3, 6 and 12 months). Quality of life was measured by the EORTC QLQ-C30 (European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Core 30 version 3.0) and QLQ-BLS24 (Quality of Life Superficial Bladder Cancer-Specific 24) questionnaires. Group differences were calculated using ANOVA (ANOVA/MANOVA).Results:
Treatment was well tolerated in both groups, although local and systemic side effects were more frequently reported in the bacillus Calmette-Guérin arm. Multivariate analyses showed no significant differences between the 2 groups in all quality of life dimensions. No significant changes over time in quality of life domains were detected for patients on bacillus Calmette-Guérin and gemcitabine except for physical functioning, which decreased significantly in both groups (p = 0.002). No significant differences were detected in terms of recurrence and progression between the 2 groups at 1-year followup.Conclusions:
While a higher rate of side effects, albeit mild to moderate, was detected with 1/3 dose bacillus Calmette-Guérin compared to gemcitabine, our study failed to show significant differences between the 2 drugs in terms of quality of life.