The role of a combined regimen with intravesical chemotherapy and hyperthermia in the management of non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer: a systematic review

Eur Urol. 2011 Jul;60(1):81-93. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2011.04.023. Epub 2011 Apr 20.


Context: Due to the suboptimal clinical outcomes of current therapies for non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC), the search for better therapeutic options continues. One option is chemohyperthermia (C-HT): microwave-induced hyperthermia (HT) with intravesical chemotherapy, typically mitomycin C (MMC). During the last 15 yr, the combined regimen has been tested in different clinical settings.

Objective: To perform a systematic review to evaluate the efficacy of C-HT as a treatment for NMIBC.

Evidence acquisition: The review process followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. An electronic search of the Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library, CancerLit, and databases was undertaken. Relevant conference abstracts and urology journals were also searched manually. Two reviewers independently reviewed candidate studies for eligibility and abstracted data from studies that met inclusion criteria. The primary end point was time to recurrence. Secondary end points included time to progression, bladder preservation rate, and adverse event (AE) rate.

Evidence synthesis: A total of 22 studies met inclusion criteria and underwent data extraction. When possible, data were combined using random effects meta-analytic techniques. Recurrence was seen 59% less after C-HT than after MMC alone. Due to short follow-up, no conclusions can be drawn about time to recurrence and progression. The overall bladder preservation rate after C-HT was 87.6%. This rate appeared higher than after MMC alone, but valid comparison studies were lacking. AEs were higher with C-HT than with MMC alone, but this difference was not statistically significant.

Conclusions: Published data suggest a 59% relative reduction in NMIBC recurrence when C-HT is compared with MMC alone. C-HT also appears to improve bladder preservation rate. However, due to a limited number of randomized trials and to heterogeneity in study design, definitive conclusions cannot be drawn. In the future, C-HT may become standard therapy for high-risk patients with recurrent tumors, for patients who are unsuitable for radical cystectomy, and in cases for which bacillus Calmette-Guérin treatment is contraindicated.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravesical
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / administration & dosage*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Hyperthermia, Induced*
  • Mitomycin / administration & dosage*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Mitomycin