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Delivery of peri-operative chemotherapy for bladder cancer in routine clinical practice


Purpose — Few articles have documented regimens and timing of peri-operative chemotherapy for bladder cancer in routine practice. Here we describe practice patterns in the general population of Ontario, Canada.

Methods — In this retrospective cohort study treatment and physician billing records were linked to the Ontario Cancer Registry to describe use of neoadjuvant (NACT) and adjuvant (ACT) chemotherapy among all patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer treated with cystectomy in Ontario 1994-2008. Time to initiation of ACT (TTAC) was measured from cystectomy. Multivariate Cox regression was used to identify factors associated with overall (OS) and cancer-specific survival (CSS).

Results — Of 2944 patients undergoing cystectomy, 4% (129/2944) and 19% (571/2944) were treated with NACT and ACT respectively. Five-year OS was 25% (95%CI 17-34%) for NACT, 29% (95%CI 25-33%) for ACT cases. Among patients with identifiable drug regimens, Cisplatin was used in 82% (253/308) and carboplatin in 14% (43/308). The most common regimens were gemcitabine-cisplatin (54%, 166/308) and MVAC (21%, 66/308). Mean TTAC was 10 weeks; 23% of patients had TTAC >12 weeks. TTAC greater than 12 weeks was associated with inferior OS (HR 1.28, 95%CI 1.00-1.62) and CSS (HR 1.30, 95%CI 1.00-1.69). In adjusted analyses, OS and CSS were lower among patients treated with carboplatin compared to those treated with cisplatin; OS HR 2.14 (95%CI 1.40-3.29) and CSS HR 2.06 (95% CI 1.26-3.37).

Conclusions — Most patients in the general population receive cisplatin and this may be associated with superior outcomes to carboplatin. Initiation of ACT beyond 12 weeks is associated with inferior survival. Patients should start ACT as soon as they are medically fit to do so.



Booth CM, Siemens DR, Peng Y, Tannock IF, Mackillop WJ. Ann Oncol. 2014; 25(9):1783-8. Epub 2014 Jun 10.

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