Phase III trial of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in patients with invasive bladder cancer treated with selective bladder preservation by combined radiation therapy and chemotherapy: initial results of Radiation Therapy Oncology Group 89-03

J Clin Oncol. 1998 Nov;16(11):3576-83. doi: 10.1200/JCO.1998.16.11.3576.


Purpose: To assess the efficacy of neoadjuvant methotrexate, cisplatin, and vinblastine (MCV) chemotherapy in patients with muscle-invading bladder cancer treated with selective bladder preservation.

Patients and methods: One hundred twenty-three eligible patients with tumor, node, metastasis system clinical stage T2 to T4aNXMO bladder cancer were randomized to receive (arm 1, n=61 ) two cycles of MCV before 39.6-Gy pelvic irradiation with concurrent cisplatin 100 mg/m2 for two courses 3 weeks apart. Patients assigned to arm 2 (n=62) did not receive MCV before concurrent cisplatin and radiation therapy. Tumor response was scored as a clinical complete response (CR) when the cystoscopic tumor-site biopsy and urine cytology results were negative. The CR patients were treated with an additional 25.2 Gy to a total of 64.8 Gy and one additional dose of cisplatin. Those with less than a CR underwent cystectomy. The median follow-up of all patients who survived is 60 months.

Results: Seventy-four percent of the patients completed the protocol with, at most, minor deviations; 67% on arm 1 and 81% on arm 2. The actuarial 5-year overall survival rate was 49%; 48% in arm 1 and 49% in arm 2. Thirty-five percent of the patients had evidence of distant metastases at 5 years; 33% in arm 1 and 39% in arm 2. The 5-year survival rate with a functioning bladder was 38%, 36% in arm 1 and 40% in arm 2. None of these differences are statistically significant.

Conclusion: Two cycles of MCV neoadjuvant chemotherapy were not shown to increase the rate of CR over that achieved with our standard induction therapy or to increase freedom from metastatic disease. There was no impact on 5-year overall survival.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Hematologic Diseases / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / administration & dosage
  • Middle Aged
  • Nausea / chemically induced
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Vinblastine / administration & dosage


  • Vinblastine
  • Cisplatin
  • Methotrexate

Supplementary concepts

  • MEC protocol 1