Phase III trial of methotrexate, vinblastine, doxorubicin, and cisplatin versus carboplatin and paclitaxel in patients with advanced carcinoma of the urothelium

Cancer. 2004 Apr 15;100(8):1639-45. doi: 10.1002/cncr.20123.


Background: The regimens of carboplatin plus paclitaxel (CP) and methotrexate, vinblastine, doxorubicin, and cisplatin (M-VAC) were compared in patients with advanced urothelial carcinoma.

Methods: Patients with metastatic urothelial carcinoma were randomized to receive either CP (paclitaxel at a dose of 225 mg/m(2) and carboplatin [targeted area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) of 6] given every 21 days) or the standard M-VAC dosage.

Results: Eighty-five patients were randomized to the respective treatment regimens (41 to CP and 44 to M-VAC). Response rates and overall survival were similar for both treatment arms. Patients treated with CP had an overall response rate of 28.2% (95% binomial confidence interval, 15.0-44.9%) compared with an overall response rate of 35.9% for the M-VAC arm (95% binomial confidence interval, 21.2-52.8%) (P = 0.63, Fisher exact test). The median progression-free survival among patients who were treated with M-VAC was 8.7 months and was 5.2 months for patients receiving CP (P = 0.24, log-rank test). At a median follow-up of 32.5 months, the median survival for patients treated with M-VAC was 15.4 months versus 13.8 months for patients treated with CP (P = 0.65, log-rank test). Patients treated with M-VAC were found to have more severe worst-degree toxicities compared with patients treated with CP (P = 0.0001). There were no significant differences with regard to quality of life as assessed by the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Bladder (FACT-BL) instrument (P = 0.33).

Conclusions: Interpretation of the results of this study must be made with caution because the study failed to reach its accrual goal. Patients treated with CP had a median survival of 13.8 months compared with 15.4 months for patients treated with M-VAC. Patients treated with CP appeared in general to better tolerate their treatment; however, there were no significant differences noted with regard to measured quality of life parameters.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carboplatin / administration & dosage
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / pathology
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / administration & dosage
  • Middle Aged
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urologic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Urologic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Vinblastine / administration & dosage


  • Vinblastine
  • Doxorubicin
  • Carboplatin
  • Paclitaxel
  • Cisplatin
  • Methotrexate

Supplementary concepts

  • M-VAC protocol