Effectiveness of Transurethral Resection plus Systemic Chemotherapy as Definitive Treatment for Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer in Population Level Data

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Abstract

Purpose

We investigated the characteristics and outcomes of patients with muscle invasive bladder cancer treated with transurethral resection plus chemotherapy alone in a large observational cohort reflecting the continuum of practice settings in the United States.

Materials and Methods

In the National Cancer Database from 2004 to 2015 we identified 1,538 patients treated with transurethral resection plus multi-agent chemotherapy as definitive treatment of cT2-T4aN0M0 urothelial carcinoma of the bladder. For comparison purposes we included in study 17,866 patients treated with radical cystectomy with or without perioperative chemotherapy. Baseline characteristics were compared between the 2 groups by multivariable logistic regression. Treatment outcomes were assessed using Kaplan-Meier analysis and a Cox regression model.

Results

On multivariate analysis several variables, including patient demography (older age, African American race, prior malignancy and lack of insurance), tumor characteristics (higher cT stage) and facility type (nonacademic facilities and lower radical cystectomy volume) were associated with a higher probability of transurethral resection plus chemotherapy for muscle invasive bladder cancer compared to the standard of care. Two and 5-year survival rates in all patients treated with transurethral resection plus chemotherapy were 49.0% and 32.9%, and in patients with cT2 disease the rates were 52.6% and 36.2%, respectively.

Conclusions

This large population level cohort of unselected patients shows that long-term survival can be achieved in a subset of patients treated with transurethral resection plus chemotherapy alone for muscle invasive bladder cancer. However, the best candidates for this approach remain to be defined. Ongoing clinical trials are now being launched to evaluate the ability of biomarkers to accurately select patients who could be treated with this bladder sparing strategy.

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