A comparison of the outcomes of neoadjuvant and adjuvant chemotherapy for clinical T2-T4aN0-N2M0 bladder cancer

Cancer. 2012 Jan 15;118(2):358-64. doi: 10.1002/cncr.26278. Epub 2011 Jun 29.


Background: Despite evidence supporting perioperative chemotherapy, few randomized studies compare neoadjuvant and adjuvant chemotherapy for bladder cancer. Consequently, the standard of care regarding the timing of chemotherapy for locally advanced bladder cancer remains controversial. We compared patient outcomes following neoadjuvant or adjuvant systemic chemotherapy for cT2-T4aN0-N2M0 bladder cancer.

Methods: In a retrospective review of a single institutional database from 1988 through 2009, we identified patients receiving neoadjuvant or adjuvant multiagent platinum-based systemic chemotherapy for locally advanced bladder cancer. Survival analysis was performed comparing disease-specific survival (DSS) and overall survival (OS).

Results: A total of 146 patients received systemic perioperative chemotherapy (73 neoadjuvant, 73 adjuvant). Of these, 84% (122/146) received cisplatin-based chemotherapy compared with carboplatin-based chemotherapy (24/146, 16.4%). Most patients receiving cisplatin-based chemotherapy were treated with methotrexate/vinblastine/adriamycin/cisplatin (79/122, 64.8%), whereas the remaining patients received gemcitabine/cisplatin (GC) (43/122, 35.2%). In multivariable analysis, there was no significant difference in DSS (P = .46) or OS (P = .76) between neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy groups. There was statistically significant improvement in DSS when patients received neoadjuvant GC rather than adjuvant GC (P = .049, hazard ratio, 10.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-112.2).

Conclusion: In this study, there was no statistically significant difference in OS and DSS between patients receiving neoadjuvant versus adjuvant systemic platinum-based chemotherapy for locally advanced bladder cancer. In addition, there was no significant difference between neoadjuvant and adjuvant cisplatin- or carboplatin-based chemotherapy. Chemotherapy sequence relative to surgery appeared less important than whether or not a patient actually received perioperative chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carboplatin / administration & dosage
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant*
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Cystectomy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / mortality
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / surgery


  • Carboplatin
  • Cisplatin