Purpose: We retrospectively evaluated the long-term outcome in patients with newly diagnosed stage T1 grade 3 bladder cancer treated with transurethral resection with or without intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG).
Materials and methods: Of 153 patients with a median age of 67 years (range 36 to 88) and a male-to-female ratio of 4:1 we treated 92 with transurethral bladder resection and additional BCG, and 61 with transurethral bladder resection alone. BCG was administered intravesically as 120 mg. BCG Pasteur F dissolved in 50 ml. saline, retained for up to 2 hours weekly for 6 weeks and repeated as necessary.
Results: Median followup was 5.3 years (range 0.4 to 18.2). Disease recurred in 70% of the patients treated with BCG and in 75% treated with transurethral resection alone. Median time to recurrence was 38 and 22 months for BCG and resection alone (p = 0.19). Tumor progressed in 33% of patients with BCG and in 36% with resection alone. Deferred cystectomy was performed in 29% of the patients with BCG and in 31% with resection alone. Overall and disease specific survival did not differ significantly.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that intravesical BCG therapy after transurethral bladder resection for stage T1 grade 3 bladder cancer may delay the time to recurrence and cystectomy but it does not substantially alter the final outcome. Our findings reflect the rule of 30% for stage T1 grade 3 cancer, namely approximately 30% of patients never have recurrence, 30% ultimately die of metastatic disease and 30% require deferred cystectomy.