Purpose: In this prospective study we evaluate the effect of combined transurethral resection of early muscle invasive bladder cancer and immunotherapy with bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) in patients unfit for radical cystectomy or refusing more aggressive therapies. Materials and Methods: A total of 22 patients with a mean age 73.6 years were included in the study. Inclusion criteria were histologically proven muscle invasive transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder with a tumor-free second resection and negative staging examinations in patients unfit for radical cystectomy or refusing more aggressive therapies. All patients received 6 weekly instillations of 120 mg. BCG starting 14 to 21 days after the last transurethral resection of the tumor. Followup at 3 months included cystoscopy, urinary cytology, ultrasound of the abdomen and chest x-ray. Every 6 months computerized tomography of the abdomen and bone scans were performed. Results: The overall 5-year survival rate was 69.1%, while the disease specific 5-year survival rate was 94%. One muscle invasive recurrence was noted at 69 months, which was again treated with the same regimen but ultimately led to radical cystectomy 21 months later. One patient died of progressive recurrence in the upper urinary tract. The 5-year recurrence-free survival rate was 46.5%. The only severe complication was BCG pneumonitis. Conclusions: The data show encouraging results for transurethral resection of bladder tumor with intravesical BCG therapy in select patients with T2a bladder cancer who are not candidates for radical cystectomy.
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