Improving the safety of BCG immunotherapy by dose reduction. Cooperative Group CUETO

Eur Urol. 1995:27 Suppl 1:13-8. doi: 10.1159/000475203.


The preliminary results of a randomized, multicentre, prospective trial conducted by the Spanish Oncology Group (CUETO) are presented. The primary aim of the trial was to determine whether or not lowering the dose of bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) could reduce toxicity without compromising efficacy. From February 1991 to June 1992, 500 patients with superficial bladder cancer (TaG2-3, T1G1-3) entered the trial. Of these patients, 252 were included in group A (BCG, 81 mg) and 248 in group B (BCG, 27 mg). There were no significant differences in clinical and pathological characteristics between the two groups. Following treatment, significant differences arose between groups A and B in local severe toxicity (22.6 vs. 4.2%, respectively; p < 0.01). Systemic toxicity was more common in group A than in group B (p < 0.01): pulmonary effects (2.3 vs. 0.4%), fever (26.9 vs. 12.9%) and malaise (16.2 vs. 8.4%), all p < 0.01. Regarding efficacy, 204 patients in group A and 210 in group B were evaluated after a mean follow-up of 18.6 months. No significant differences in recurrence rate (18.1 vs. 19.5%) or progression rate (2.4 vs. 4.8%) were found. However, in patients with superficial bladder cancer with high risk of recurrence and progression (carcinoma in situ and G3), caution must be exercised in selecting the dose.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravesical
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • BCG Vaccine / administration & dosage*
  • BCG Vaccine / adverse effects
  • Carcinoma in Situ / mortality
  • Carcinoma in Situ / pathology
  • Carcinoma in Situ / therapy
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Spain
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / therapy*


  • BCG Vaccine