The Journal of urology

5-Year outcome of a randomized prospective study comparing bacillus Calmette-Guérin with epirubicin and interferon-α2b in patients with T1 bladder cancer.

PMID 24231843


In a multicenter, prospectively randomized study we evaluated the 5-year outcomes of bacillus Calmette-Guérin alone compared to a combination of epirubicin and interferon-α2b in the treatment of patients with T1 bladder cancer. Transurethral resection was followed by a second resection and bladder mapping. Stratification was for grade and carcinoma in situ. Followup entailed regular cystoscopy and cytology during the first 5 years. The end points assessed in this analysis were recurrence-free survival, time to treatment failure and progression, cancer specific survival and prognostic factors. The study recruited 250 eligible patients. The 5-year recurrence-free survival rate was 38% in the combination arm and 59% in the bacillus Calmette-Guérin arm (p = 0.001). The corresponding rates for the other end points were not significantly different, as free of progression 78% and 77%, treatment failure 75% and 75%, and cancer specific survival 90% and 92%, respectively. The type of treatment, tumor size and tumor status at second resection were independent variables associated with recurrence. Concomitant carcinoma in situ was not predictive of failure of bacillus Calmette-Guérin therapy. An independent factor for treatment failure was remaining T1 stage at second resection. Bacillus Calmette-Guérin was more effective than the tested combination therapy. The currently recommended management with second resection and 3-week maintenance bacillus Calmette-Guérin entails a low risk of cancer specific death. More aggressive treatment in patients with infiltrative tumors at second resection might improve these results. In particular, concomitant carcinoma in situ was not a predictive factor for poor outcome after bacillus Calmette-Guérin therapy.