Radiotherapy in Metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma: Rationale and Clinical Applications

Anticancer Res. 2022 Aug;42(8):3767-3778. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.15867.


Urothelial carcinoma is the most common type of bladder cancer including upper urinary tract urothelial cell carcinoma (renal pelvis and ureters) and urethral carcinoma. It exhibits high mortality and morbidity rates and is usually diagnosed at a late, incurable stage, carrying a poor prognosis. Local symptoms in patients with metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) have an adverse impact on quality of life (QoL) and are associated with frequent hospitalizations. Herein, we review the role of palliative radiotherapy in mUC as the means to ameliorate a wide range of symptoms, seeking optimum patient stratification, even though the latter should be balanced against any acute or late toxicity that may arise. For this, links to the molecular biology of mUC are explored and QoL assessments are presented. To maximize patient benefit from radiotherapy, we conclude that multi-modal datasets need to be re-visited to better inform multi-center studies where policy makers, health professionals, researchers, and patient groups meet. Radiotherapy either as a monotherapy or alongside systemic therapy may serve as an added value.

Keywords: Radiotherapy; metastatic urothelial carcinoma; quality of life; review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Quality of Life
  • Ureteral Neoplasms*
  • Urethral Neoplasms*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms* / pathology