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Urology. 2004 Aug;64(2):292-7.

Aggressive treatment for bladder cancer is associated with improved overall survival among patients 80 years old or older.

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  • 1Department of Urology, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-0330, USA.



To examine the impact of various treatment modalities on survival among patients with bladder cancer who were 80 years old or older compared with younger patients. A compendium of evidence suggests that bladder cancer surgery is safe among octogenarians; however, the benefit of such treatment in a population with limited life expectancy has not been well documented.


Subjects with the primary diagnosis of bladder cancer were identified from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results cancer registry between 1988 and 1999. Of the 13,796 patients diagnosed with bladder cancer, 24% were older than 80 years of age. Proportional hazards regression modeling was performed to determine the independent association of treatment strategy on overall and bladder cancer survival while adjusting for multiple covariates.


Of patients 80 years old or older, bladder cancer management included watchful waiting (7%), radiotherapy alone (1%), full or partial cystectomy (12%), and transurethral resection (79%). Patients 80 years old or older were less likely to be treated with extirpative surgery than their younger counterparts (P <0.0001). Cox proportional hazards models demonstrated that, among patients 80 years old or older, radical cystectomy/partial cystectomy had the greatest risk reduction in death from bladder cancer (hazard ratio 0.3) and death from any cause (hazard ratio 0.4) among the primary treatment modalities (both P <0.0001).


Disparities in practice patterns between younger and geriatric patients with bladder cancer exist. We provide compelling evidence that aggressive surgical management of bladder cancer in these patients may improve survival. Risk adjustment tools should be used to identify patients (young and old) who would be better served by less aggressive management.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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