Preoperative radiotherapy for muscle‐invasive bladder carcinoma. Long term follow‐up and prognostic factors for 338 patients

Alan Pollack, Gunar K. Zagars, Colin P. Dinney, David A. Swanson, Andrew C. von Eschenbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Background. This study was performed to determine the importance of various potential prognostic factors in a large cohort of patients with transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder who were treated relatively uniformly at a single institution. Methods. Between 1960 and 1983, 338 patients with muscle-invasive bladder carcinoma received preoperative radiotherapy (50 Gy in 25 fractions) followed 4-6 weeks later with radical cystectomy. Lymph node sampling was performed only when suspicious adenopathy was encountered. Ninety-eight percent of the patients completed the treatment as planned. The median follow-up for those living was 90 months. Results. Actuarial 5-year pelvic control, disease free, and overall survival rates were 84, 51, and 44%, respectively, for all patients, and 88, 58, and 50%, respectively, for those who treatment completed. The overwhelming majority of failures were from distant metastases (43% at 5 years). The pathologic complete response rate was 42%, and downstaging was seen in 65% of the patients. Univariate actuarial analyses revealed clinical stage, clinical perivesical extension, tumor size, pretreatment hemoglobin level, pretreatment blood urea nitrogen (BUN) concentration, results of intravenous pyelography, sex, age, pathologic response, and pathologic complete response, correlated with disease outcome. A Cox proportional hazards model showed pathologic response (P < 0.0001), clinical stage (P = 0.01), hemoglobin level (P < 0.02), pathologic complete response (P < 0.05), and BUN concentration (P < 0.05), were correlated significantly with pelvic control. When only pretreatment factors were analyzed, clinical stage, hemoglobin level, and BUN concentration remained the only factors predictive of pelvic control. Similar results were obtained when overall survival was used as the endpoint, except that pathologic complete response and BUN concentration were replaced by sex as significant covariates. A Cox proportional hazards model using disease free status as the endpoint revealed pathologic response and tumor size to be independent predictors of patient outcome. Restricting this analysis only to pretreatment factors showed that pretreatment hemoglobin and tumor size were the only factors correlated with disease free status. Conclusions. The most significant prognostic factor was pathologic response, which correlated highly with all disease endpoints investigated. The most consistently significant pretreatment factors were hemoglobin level and clinical stage, although tumor size, sex, and BUN concentration also were independent predictors of patient outcome. These factors should be considered in patients receiving radiotherapy for bladder preservation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2819-2827
Number of pages9
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 15 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • muscle-invasive bladder carcinoma
  • prognosis
  • radical cystectomy
  • radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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