Trimodality Bladder Preservation Therapy for Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer

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  • a From the Department of Radiation Oncology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
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Potentially curative treatments for patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) are underused, especially in the elderly. Trimodality bladder preservation therapy, which includes a maximally safe transurethral resection of the bladder tumor, followed by concurrent chemoradiation, fulfills this currently unmet need. In multiple prospective clinical trials and large institutional series, trimodality therapy has demonstrated excellent 5-year overall survival rates of 48% to 65%, comparable to those reported in cystectomy studies. Approximately 75% to 80% of long-term survivors maintain their native bladders, which tend to function well and allow patients to maintain excellent quality of life. Salvage cystectomy for patients who develop a local invasive recurrence can be performed with acceptable operative complication rates, and results in excellent long-term disease control and survival outcomes. For patients with MIBC who are noncystectomy candidates, or select patients who are motivated to keep their native bladders, trimodality bladder preservation therapy is recognized by the International Consultation on Urological Diseases-European Association of Urology and the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology for Bladder Cancer as an effective alternative to radical cystectomy, and should be considered. In the future, biomarkers may allow improved selection of patients for whom trimodality bladder preservation therapy is most likely to succeed.

Correspondence: Ronald C. Chen, MD, MPH, Department of Radiation Oncology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 101 Manning Drive, CB 7512, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7512. E-mail: ronald_chen@med.unc.edu
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