Background and purpose: Organ-sparing treatment of bladder cancer by a trimodality approach is feasible and effective. In this study, the results of a series of patients are reported, who were, in the majority, not suitable for major surgery.
Patients and methods: In the period from June 1995 through December 2003, 68 patients (64 males, four females) with urothelial bladder cancer were treated with curative intent. The median age was 68 years (range 42-82 years). Clinical T-category was 32x T2, 20x T3, and 16x T4. Transurethral resection was performed in all cases, and a complete TUR-BT (transurethral resection of bladder tumor) was attempted, if possible. Radiotherapy was administered in conventional fractionation (five fractions of 1.8 Gy per week) up to 50.4 Gy to bladder, and regional nodes and the whole bladder received a boost up to 54-59.4 Gy. 34 patients received concurrent cisplatin-based chemotherapy (25 mg/m(2) on days 1-5 and 29-33), and patients with impaired renal function were either treated with irradiation alone (n = 7) or received paclitaxel as alternative to cisplatin in a phase II protocol or on an individual decision (n = 27). The median follow-up was 34 months (range 2-104 months).
Results: A histologically confirmed complete remission (CR) on restaging cystoscopy was observed in 40/46 patients (87%) who underwent restaging cystoscopy. CR rates were not significantly correlated to T-category (CR: 24/32 T2, 9/19 T3, and 9/16 T4 tumors) or clinical nodal status. Patients with non-radical resection and macroscopic residual tumor (R2 resection) achieved a CR in only 39% (12/31); this figure was significantly lower as compared to patients with radical R0 TUR-BT (CR: 15/16, 94%, p = 0.013) Furthermore, age and preexisting anemia had no impact on response. The overall survival of the whole group was 45% after 5 years, and survival according to clinical T-category was 62% for T2, 43% for T3, and 19% for T4 (p = 0.015). In eleven patients, local disease progression or relapse was observed. So far, only one salvage cystectomy has been performed, due to contraindications to surgery in the majority of patients.
Conclusion: The data obtained in this study confirm the high efficacy of TUR and radiochemotherapy for locally advanced bladder cancer.