Purpose: We compared the efficacy and toxicity of long-term mitomycin C versus bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) instillation in patients at high risk for recurrence and progression of superficial bladder carcinoma.
Materials and methods: Our randomized comparison study included 261 patients with primary dysplasia, or stage Tis, stage T1, grade 3 and multiple recurrent stage Ta/T1, grade 1 or 2 disease. Mitomycin C (40 mg.) or Pasteur strain BCG (120 mg.) was instilled weekly for 6 weeks, then monthly for up to 1 year and every 3 months during year 2.
Results: After a median followup of 39 months 49% of the patients given BCG and 34% given mitomycin C were disease-free (p < 0.03), compared to 48 and 35%, respectively, of those with stage Ta or T1 disease, and 54 and 33%, respectively, of those with dysplasia or stage Tis tumor. Tumor progressed in 13% of patients, with no statistically significant difference observed regarding progression between the mitomycin C and BCG groups. Side effects were more common after BCG instillation, with 5 cases of severe side effects compared to 1 in the mitomycin C group. Treatment was stopped due to toxicity in 10% of the patients.
Conclusions: The majority of patients tolerated long-term intravesical therapy well. BCG instillation was hampered by more frequent side effects. BCG was superior regarding recurrence prophylaxis, since patients given BCG had fewer recurrences and a significantly longer time to treatment failure compared to those treated with mitomycin C. No statistically significant difference was observed regarding progression.