Utilization of neoadjuvant chemotherapy for muscle-invasive bladder cancer in elderly patients: a retrospective cohort study

Med Oncol. 2024 Jul 9;41(8):197. doi: 10.1007/s12032-024-02430-5.


Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) improves overall survival in muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC). Older patients often do not receive NAC due to its potential toxicities. We examined treatment patterns of elderly MIBC patients as well as impact of NAC on survival in this population. The National Cancer Database was queried from 2006 to 2019 for stage T2-T4a MIBC patients ≥ 80 years old. Treatment exposures (extirpative surgery; chemotherapy; radiation) were ascertained. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were generated based on treatment modalities (no treatment; radiation only; chemotherapy only; chemoradiation; surgery only; NAC with surgery). Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression assessed associations with overall survival (OS). The cohort included 16,391 patients (mean age 86 years); 51% received treatment. MIBC treatment was less common with advancing age; patients receiving NAC then surgery were younger and had lower comorbidity scores. From 2006 to 2019, more patients received chemoradiation, while rates of NAC rose modestly. Median OS for the NAC with surgery group was 48 months versus 9 months for the no treatment group. Log-rank tests showed significantly improved survival in the NAC with surgery group compared to the surgery only group, while Cox proportional hazards regression analysis showed highest survival benefit in the NAC with surgery group. Only half of elderly MIBC patients received treatment, with fewer undergoing curative intent. NAC with surgery was associated with the greatest survival benefit. While our findings should be taken in the context of potential selection bias and patient preferences, they support NAC as part of shared-decision making regardless of age.

Keywords: Age; Bladder cancer; Geriatric; Neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy* / methods
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms* / mortality
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms* / therapy