Background: The clinical effect of intravesical instillation of chemotherapy immediately after transurethral resection of bladder tumours (TURBT) has recently been questioned, despite its recommendation in guidelines. Our aim was to compare TURBT alone with immediate post-TURBT intravesical passive diffusion (PD) of mitomycin and immediate pre-TURBT intravesical electromotive drug administration (EMDA) of mitomycin in non-muscle invasive bladder cancer.
Methods: We did a multicentre, randomised, parallel-group study in patients with primary non-muscle invasive bladder cancer in three centres in Italy between Jan 1, 1994, and Dec 31, 2003. Patients were randomly assigned to receive treatment by means of stratified blocked randomisation across six strata. Patients and physicians giving the interventions were aware of assignment, but it was masked from outcome assessors and data analysts. Patients were randomly assigned to receive TURBT alone, immediate post-TURBT instillation of 40 mg PD mitomycin dissolved in 50 mL sterile water infused over 60 min, or immediate pre-TURBT instillation of 40 mg EMDA mitomycin dissolved in 100 mL sterile water with intravesical 20 mA pulsed electric current for 30 min. Our primary endpoints were recurrence rate and disease-free interval. Analyses were done by intention to treat. Follow-up for our trial is complete. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01149174.
Findings: 124 patients were randomly assigned to receive TURBT alone, 126 to receive immediate post-TURBT PD mitomycin, and 124 to receive immediate pre-TURBT EMDA mitomycin. 22 patients were excluded from our analyses because they did meet our eligibility criteria after TURBT: 11 had stage pT2 disease and 11 had carcinoma in situ. Median follow-up was 86 months (IQR 57-125). Patients assigned to receive EMDA mitomycin before TURBT had a lower rate of recurrence (44 [38%] of 117) than those assigned to receive PD mitomycin after TURBT (70 [59%] of 119) and TURBT alone (74 [64%] of 116; log-rank p<0·0001). Patients assigned to receive EMDA mitomycin before TURBT also had a higher disease-free interval (52 months, IQR 32-184) than those assigned to receive PD mitomycin after TURBT (16 months, 12-168) and TURBT alone (12 months, 12-37; log-rank p<0·0001). We recorded persistent bladder symptoms after TURBT in 18 (16%) of 116 patients in the TURBT-alone group (duration 3-7 days), 37 (31%) of 119 in the PD mitomycin post-TURBT group (duration 20-30 days), and 24 (21%) of 117 in the EMDA mitomycin pre-TURBT group (duration 7-12 days); haematuria after TURBT in eight (7%) of 116 patients in the TURBT-alone group, 16 (13%) of 119 in the PD mitomycin post-TURBT group, and 11 (9%) of 117 in the EMDA mitomycin pre-TURBT group; and bladder perforation after TURBT in five (4%) of 116 patients in the TURBT-alone group, nine (8%) of 119 in the PD mitomycin post-TURBT group, and seven (6%) of 117 in the EMDA mitomycin pre-TURBT group.
Interpretation: Intravesical EMDA mitomycin before TURBT is feasible and safe; moreover, it reduces recurrence rates and enhances the disease-free interval compared with intravesical PD mitomycin after TURBT and TURBT alone.
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