Intravesical valrubicin in the treatment of carcinoma in situ of the bladder

Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2001 Jun;2(6):1009-13. doi: 10.1517/14656566.2.6.1009.


The propensity of patients with carcinoma in situ (CIS) of the bladder to progress to invasive and metastatic disease is clearly established. Today, the standard therapy in treating patients with CIS of the bladder is intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG). Nevertheless, patients who fail intravesical BCG have few viable options except to undergo a radical cystectomy. Valrubicin (N-trifluoroacetyladriamycin-14-valerate) is a new semisynthetic derivative of the anthracycline antibiotic doxorubicin that has been shown to benefit patients with BCG-refractory CIS of the bladder. Intravesical instillation of valrubicin is well-tolerated, safe and can be durable. Early non-randomised studies show promise and the current utilisation of this drug is limited to patients with BCG-refractory CIS of the bladder who are not good surgical candidates. Randomised studies of intravesical valrubicin for the treatment of superficial bladder cancer are ongoing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravesical
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / drug therapy*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / analogs & derivatives
  • Doxorubicin / chemistry
  • Doxorubicin / therapeutic use*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Molecular Structure
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • valrubicin
  • Doxorubicin