Purpose: Studies of perioperative chemotherapy for muscle invasive bladder cancer have shown a survival benefit with combined modality therapy. We reviewed chemotherapy use in patients with stage III transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder from 1998 to 2003 to evaluate perioperative chemotherapy treatment patterns.
Materials and methods: The National Cancer Data Base collected data on approximately 60% of all newly diagnosed bladder cancer cases in the United States from 1998 to 2003. We queried the National Cancer Data Base for all treatment of male and female patients 18 years old or older with bladder transitional cell carcinoma diagnosed between 1998 and 2003. A total of 224,060 bladder transitional cell carcinoma records were reviewed. Perioperative chemotherapy was defined as chemotherapy given within 4 months before and 4 months after surgery. Of 11,339 cases of stage III bladder cancer treatment, analysis was possible for 7,161.
Results: Treatment patterns were analyzed in 7,161 patients with stage III bladder transitional cell carcinoma. Perioperative chemotherapy was administered to 11.6% of patients with stage III bladder transitional cell carcinoma with 10.4% receiving adjuvant chemotherapy and 1.2% receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy. When comparing perioperative chemotherapy use by diagnosis year in 1998 and 2003, a small statistically significant increase was observed using the Pearson's chi-square test with Bonferroni correction (p <0.05) at 11.3% of patients in 1998 vs 16.8% in 2003.
Conclusions: Perioperative chemotherapy is underused in the management of surgically resectable stage III transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder. This finding may reflect a delay in implementing the results of recently reported randomized trials, a low incidence of referrals by urologists for chemotherapy and/or confidence in salvage chemotherapy as an equivalent alternative. Further followup will determine if this treatment pattern changes in the future.