Clinical characterization of radiation-associated muscle-invasive bladder cancer

Urology. 2021 Aug;154:208-214. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2021.03.033. Epub 2021 Apr 20.


Objective: To characterize the presentation, patterns of care, and outcomes of radiation-associated muscle-invasive bladder cancer (RA-MIBC) compared to primary (non-radiation associated) MIBC. RA-MIBC has been suggested to represent a more aggressive disease variant and be more difficult to treat compared to primary (non-radiation associated) MIBC.

Methods: We identified 60,090 patients diagnosed with MIBC between 1988-2015 using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database and stratified patients based on whether radiation had been administered to a prior pelvic primary cancer. We used Fine-Gray competing risks regression to compare adjusted bladder cancer-specific mortality (BCSM) for RA-MIBC compared to primary MIBC.

Results: There were 1,093 patients with RA-MIBC and 58,997 patients with primary MIBC. RA-MIBCs were more likely to be T4 at diagnosis (21.0% vs 17.3%, P < .001), and less likely to be node-positive (10.3% vs 17.1%, P < .001). The rate of 5-year BCSM was significantly higher for patients with RA-MIBC vs primary MIBC (56.1% vs 35.3%, AHR 1.24, P < .001), even after stratification by other tumor, treatment and patient-specific factors.

Conclusion: RA-MIBCs tended to present with higher grade and T stage disease and were less likely to receive curative treatment. Even when accounting for stage, grade, and receipt of treatment, patients with RA-MIBC had worse survival compared to those with primary MIBC. These findings suggest that RA-MIBC present unique clinical challenges and may also represent a biologically more aggressive disease compared to primary MIBC. Future research is needed to better understand the biology of RA-MIBC and develop improved treatment approaches.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / therapy*