Radiation Therapy May Provide Some Benefit to Patients with High-Risk NMIBC

December 3, 2020
Ben Saylor

This study found that radiation therapy may provide some benefit for patients with high-risk non–muscle invasive bladder cancer, though the quality of evidence in this current setting is low.

According to a study presented at the 2020 Society of Urologic Oncology Annual Meeting, radiation therapy may provide some benefit for patients with high-risk non–muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC), though the quality of evidence in this current setting is low.

For the study, investigators searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Scopus, and Web of Science for high-risk NMIBC treated with primary radiation therapy. The primary outcomes were recurrence-free survival (RFS), cancer-specific survival (CSS), overall survival (OS), and rates of salvage radical cystectomy and progression to metastatic disease.

Ultimately, the investigators’ search revealed 13 studies that met their search criteria, only 1 of which was a randomized controlled trial, with the remaining 12 studies being single institution and retrospective in nature.

From the 13 studies, the investigators derived the following 5-year rates of RFS, CSS, and OS: 54%, 86%, and 72%, respectively. In addition, 13% of patients underwent salvage cystectomy, and 9% developed metastatic disease.

Speaking with Urology Times®, CancerNetwork’s® sister publication, study author Rodrigo R. Pessoa, MD, PhD, commented on the findings.

“Almost 80% of our patients will have a complete response with radiation for… high-grade disease. Unfortunately, around 10% of the patients will see [progression],” said Pessoa, urology resident at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora.

Pessoa cautioned that the fact that only 1 randomized, controlled trial was included in their trial “is obviously a major limitation.”

“One other major limitation is that unfortunately, the randomized trial was not blinded,” Pessoa added.

When discussing the findings with Urology Times®, senior author Simon P. Kim, MD, MPH, highlighted the type of future research needed in this setting.

“In addition to answering the question about oncologic efficacy in terms of reducing the risk of relapse, it'd also be necessary to address the quality-of-life issue. Both BCG and radiation therapy may have quality-of-life implications,” said Kim, associate professor of surgery-urology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. “To date, we haven't had really good studies to evaluate and elucidate the quality-of-life implications not just for BCG but also for radiation therapy. I think a well-designed study that's a phase 3 trial [and is] multi-centered, that addresses the oncologic question… but also addresses the quality-of-life implications, potentially for both treatments, would be the ideal situation,”

Reference

Pessoa RR, Mueller A, Boxley P, et al. Systematic review and meta-analysis of radiation therapy for high-risk non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. Paper presented at: 2020 Society of Urologic Oncology Annual Meeting. December 2-5, 2020; virtual. Poster 34.

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