Background and aim: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) before radical cystectomy (RC) became the standard of care for muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) in the last few years. We aimed to evaluate the radiological, pathological responses to NAC, and the 30-day surgical outcomes after RC in MIBC.
Patients and methods: A retrospective cohort study involving adult patients with localized urothelial MIBC who received NAC followed by RC at the National Cancer Institute of Egypt (NCI-E) for 2 years (2017 and 2018). Out of 235 MIBC cases, we recognized 72 patients (30%) who fitted the eligibility criteria.
Results: A cohort of 72 patients with a median age of 60.5 years (range 34-87). Hydronephrosis, gross extravesical extension (cT3b), and radiologically negative nodes (cN0) were depicted initially in 45.8, 52.8, and 83.3% of patients, respectively. Gemcitabine and cisplatin (GC) was the rampant NAC employed in 95.8%. Radiological evaluation post NAC using RECIST v1.1 revealed a response rate (RR) of 65.3% in bladder tumor and progressive disease in the former and lymph nodes encountered in 19.4 and 13.9%, respectively. The median time from the end of NAC to surgery was 8.1 weeks (range 4-15). Open RC and ileal conduit were the most common types of surgery and urinary diversion, respectively. Pathological down-staging was encountered in 31.9%, and only 11 cases (15.3%) achieved pathological complete response (pCR). The latter was significantly correlated with the absence of hydronephrosis, low-risk tumors, and associated bilharziasis (p = 0.001, 0.029, and 0.039, respectively). By logistic regression, the high-risk category was the only independent factor associated with a poor likelihood of achieving pCR (OR 4.3; 95% CI 1.1-16.7; p = 0.038). Thirty-day mortality occurred in 5(7%) patients, and 16(22%) experienced morbidity, with intestinal leakage being the most frequent complication. cT4 was the only significant factor associated with post-RC morbidity and mortality compared to cT2 and cT3b (p = 0.01).
Conclusions: Our results are further supporting the radiological and pathological benefits of NAC in MIBC, evidenced by tumor downstaging and pCR. The complication rate after RC is still considerable; hence, more larger studies are necessary to postulate a comprehensive risk assessment tool for patients who would get the maximum benefit from NAC, hoping to accomplish higher complete response rates with ultimately increased adoption of the bladder preservation strategies.
Keywords: Bladder cancer; Muscle-invasive; NCI-E; Neoadjuvant chemotherapy; Urothelial carcinoma.
© 2023. The Author(s).