Objectives: To critically evaluate the survival of patients with high-grade Ta or T1 urothelial cancer (UC) or carcinoma in situ of the bladder who have received bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) and who have undergone radical cystectomy. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed our single-surgeon database of those patients who underwent cystectomy and previously received BCG. We evaluated the baseline characteristics, pathologic outcomes, and survival data. Results: Of 313 patients who underwent cystectomy between January 1992 and March 2004, 90 (29%) received BCG before bladder removal. The mean time from the first BCG course to the date of cystectomy was 27.9 months. The mean duration of follow-up from cystectomy was 32.1 months. The risk of progression to muscle invasion for those who underwent cystectomy less than or more than 1 year from the time of their first BCG dose was 59% and 36%, respectively (P = 0.05). The disease-specific survival rate was 81% versus 80% for those who underwent early versus delayed cystectomy (P = 0.9). Conclusions: Patients with high-grade UC are at risk of dying from this cancer, even if they ultimately undergo cystectomy. Patients who receive BCG should be appropriately counseled that they remain at risk for disease progression and death from UC. It is difficult to ascertain the proper time to proceed with cystectomy if an initial bladder conservation approach is used.
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