Researchers who conducted a large, randomized clinical trial across
Europe, Great Britain, and Canada found that in order to improve
safety and reduce toxicity, advanced bladder cancer patients can be
treated with a combination of gemcitabine (Gemzar) and cisplatin
(Platinol). This combination (known as GC) did not extend survival,
but it was much less toxic than the currently used combination, MVAC
(methotrexate, vinblastine, doxorubicin [Adriamycin], and cisplatin).
Compared to 196 patients who were treated with MVAC, the 200 patients
who received GC had a lower incidence of adverse events, including
low white blood cell count (82% vs 71%, respectively), fever (14% vs
2%), severe infection (12% vs 1%), and mouth sores (22% vs 1%). There
were also fewer chemotherapy-related deaths in patients receiving GC
(1%) compared to those receiving MVAC (3%). In general, patients
treated with GC had less weight loss and fatigue and better overall
physical functioning compared to patients treated with MVAC.
GC is a safer therapeutic alternative for patients with locally
advanced and metastatic bladder cancer, said oncologist
Professor Hans von der Masse, of Aarhus University Hospital in
Aarhus, Denmark. He added that GC should also be tested in patients
with early-stage bladder cancer.