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Curr Oncol. 2011 Jan;18(1):e25-34.

First- and second-line therapy for metastatic urothelial carcinoma of the bladder.

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Department of Surgery (Urology), McGill University, Montreal, QC.


Urothelial cancer of the bladder is the 4th most common malignancy in American men and the 9th most common in women. Although it is a chemosensitive disease, advanced bladder cancer seems to have reached a plateau with regard to median survival of patients. Standard first-line therapy remains gemcitabine plus cisplatin (gc) or methotrexate, vinblastine, doxorubicin, and cisplatin (mvac). In patients deemed unfit to receive cisplatin, gemcitabine plus carboplatin or gemcitabine plus paclitaxel can be considered. To date, no standard therapy has been established for patients who recur or are refractory to first-line therapy. Second-line vinflunine, by way of superiority over best supportive care, has shown promise in a phase iii trial. Cisplatin-based therapy (mvac or gc) can also be offered to patients previously treated with cisplatin, especially if they responded previously and are considered platinum-sensitive. Novel targeted therapies are sorely needed to further improve the delivery and efficacy of chemotherapy.


Bladder cancer; chemotherapy; first-line therapy; metastasis; second-line therapy; targeted therapy


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