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J Clin Oncol. 1997 Mar;15(3):1022-9.

Bladder preservation by combined modality therapy for invasive bladder cancer.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston 02114, USA.



To update the efficacy of a selective multimodality bladder-preserving approach by transurethral resection (TURBT), systemic chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.


From 1986 through 1993, 106 patients with muscle-invading clinical stage T2 to T4a,Nx,M0 bladder cancer were treated with induction by maximal TURBT and two cycles of chemotherapy (methotrexate, cisplatin, vinblastine [MCV]) followed by 39.6-Gy pelvic irradiation with concomitant cisplatin. Patients with a negative postinduction therapy tumor site biopsy and cytology (a T0 response, 70 patients) plus those with less than a T0 response but medically unfit for cystectomy (six patients), received consolidative chemoradiation to a total of 64.8 Gy. Surgical candidates with less than a T0 response (13 patients) and patients who could not tolerate the chemoradiation (six patients) went to immediate cystectomy. The median follow-up duration is 4.4 years.


The 5-year actuarial overall survival and disease-specific survival rates of all patients are 52% and 60%, respectively. For clinical stage T2 patients, the actuarial overall survival rate is 63%, and for T3-4, 45%. Thirty-six patients (34%) underwent cystectomy, all with evidence of tumor activity, including 17 with an invasive recurrence. The 5-year overall survival rate with an intact functioning bladder is 43%. Among 76 patients who completed bladder-preserving therapy, the 5-year rate of freedom from an invasive bladder relapse is 79%. No patient required cystectomy for treatment-related bladder morbidity.


Combined modality therapy with TURBT, chemotherapy, radiation, and selection for organ-conservation by response has a 52% overall survival rate. This result is similar to cystectomy-based studies for patients of similar age and clinical stages. The majority of the long-term survivors retain fully functional bladders.

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