Purpose: Intravesical instillations of bacillus Calmette-Guerin have demonstrated satisfactory results in the treatment of vesical carcinoma in situ and high grade superficial bladder tumors. We designed a protocol to evaluate the decrease in tumor recurrence with maintenance therapy.
Materials and methods: Between June 1989 and May 1995 an initial course of 6 intravesical instillations of Connaught strain bacillus Calmette-Guerin was administered in patients with carcinoma in situ and/or high grade superficial bladder tumors. Six months later 131 disease-free patients were randomly assigned to a control group or a maintenance therapy group that received 6 instillations every 6 months (6 x 6) for a 2-year period.
Results: Of the 126 evaluable patients at a mean followup of 79 months there were no significant differences in recurrence nor progression. A total of 16 patients (26.2%) in the control and 10 (15.1%) in the maintenance group had superficial relapse at a mean of 24 and 20 months, respectively (p = 0.07). Eight patients underwent radical cystectomy due to bladder contraction in 1, high grade superficial recurrence in 4 and disease progression in 3. Of the 65 patients on maintenance therapy 22 (33.85%) completed the planned 2-year treatment.
Conclusions: Six-month maintenance therapy in patients treated initially for carcinoma in situ and/or high grade superficial bladder tumors who are disease-free at 6 months did not significantly decrease recurrence or progression.