Management of BCG failures in superficial bladder cancer: a review

Eur Urol. 2006 May;49(5):790-7. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2006.01.017. Epub 2006 Jan 24.


Objective: Review management of bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) failures in superficial bladder cancer.

Method: Search of published literature and meeting abstracts.

Results: Patients in whom BCG fails are not a uniform group. Failure cannot be predicted but high-risk patients can be identified. In case of failure and progression the outcome is bad. Conservative but investigative alternatives are BCG/interferon-alpha, intravesical hyperthermia/chemotherapy, or photodynamic therapy. Standard treatment in failing patients remains cystoprostatectomy.

Conclusion: BCG failures need careful and individualized therapy in experienced hands.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use*
  • BCG Vaccine / therapeutic use*
  • Cystectomy
  • Decision Making
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery
  • Photochemotherapy
  • Prognosis
  • Treatment Failure
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / surgery*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • BCG Vaccine