Combined chemohyperthermia: 10-year single center experience in 160 patients with nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer

J Urol. 2014 Sep;192(3):708-13. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2014.03.101. Epub 2014 Apr 1.


Purpose: Nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer is characterized by a high recurrence rate. New adjuvant treatments are needed to decrease this high number of recurrences. We present the results of more than 10 years of experience with chemohyperthermia in patients with nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer.

Materials and methods: Using standardized medical record forms we prospectively collected patient and tumor characteristics of patients treated with chemohyperthermia between 2002 and 2013. Median followup was 75.6 months. Recurrence-free survival was the primary objective. The secondary objective was to observe recurrence-free survival differences in 1) the epirubicin group vs the mitomycin group and 2) the highly recurrent (greater than 2 recurrences in 24 months) nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer group vs the other groups.

Results: A total of 160 patients with nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer were included in study, including 20 (13%) treated with epirubicin and 129 (81%) previously treated with bacillus Calmette-Guérin. One and 2-year recurrence-free survival was 60% and 47%, respectively. Muscle invasive progression was seen in 4% of cases. Two-year recurrence-free survival in the epirubicin and mitomycin groups was 55% and 46%, respectively (p = 0.30). The highly recurrent nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer group had significant decreased recurrence-free survival compared to other groups (p <0.01). Patients treated with 2 or fewer vs greater than 2 transurethral bladder tumor resections before chemohyperthermia had higher recurrence-free survival (p = 0.01). On multivariable analysis the highly recurrent cancer criteria remained independently associated with decreased recurrence-free survival (HR 2.40, 95% CI 1.30-4.43, p = 0.01).

Conclusions: Chemohyperthermia is an effective approach to nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer for which standard intravesical treatments fail. Patients with highly recurrent disease before chemohyperthermia have lower recurrence-free survival. Furthermore, recurrence-free survival appears to improve with earlier chemohyperthermia. No significant differences were observed between the 2 chemotherapy agents.

Keywords: BCG vaccine; body temperature changes; drug therapy; local; neoplasm recurrence; urinary bladder neoplasms.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Epirubicin / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperthermia, Induced*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitomycin / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / prevention & control
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Epirubicin
  • Mitomycin