Outcomes and complications of Hyperthermic IntraVesical Chemotherapy using mitomycin C or epirubicin for patients with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer after bacillus Calmette-Guerin treatment failure

Bladder Cancer

Cent European J Urol. 2020;73(3):287-294. doi: 10.5173/ceju.2020.0148. Epub 2020 Aug 6.


INTRODUCTION: Chemohyperthermia is a feasible option in BCG (bacillus Calmette-Guérin) failure patients who desire bladder preservation. We aimed to assess outcomes and complications of chemohyperthermia using mitomycin C (MMC) or epirubicin (EPI).

MATERIAL AND METHODS: From March 2017 to February 2020, 103 BCG failure or intolerance patients with high-risk NMIBC (non-muscle invasive bladder cancer) underwent a hyperthermic intravesical chemotherapy (HIVEC) regimen. Five patients did not complete at least 5 instillations and were excluded from analysis. MMC was used in 72 out of 98 patients (Group A) while EPI was used in 26 patients (Group B). Response to HIVEC, predictive factors for treatment outcome and the disease-free survival (DFS) were defined as primary endpoints. The complications of chemohyperthermia were assessed as a secondary endpoint.

RESULTS: No significant differences were found in recurrence and progression after induction course between Groups A and B. Kaplan-Meier disease-free survival was 22.61 months in Group A and 21.93 in Group B. The log-rank test showed no statistically significant difference between the two curves (p = .627). In the multivariate analysis, patients with tumor size ≥3 cm (p = .029), recurrence rate >1/year (p = .034), concomitant carcinoma in situ (CIS) during transurethral resection of bladder (TURB) (p = .039) and BCG-unresponsive status (p = .048) were associated with a worse response to chemohyperthermia. The use of MMC or EPI did not influence the response to treatment (p = .157). A slightly significant higher rate of overall complications (p = .0488) was observed in Group B. A significantly higher rate of Grade 3 frequency/urgency (p = .0064) contributed to this difference. The use of EPI was the only independent factor associated with severe urinary frequency/urgency (p = .017). No patients experienced Grade 4/5 adverse events.

CONCLUSIONS: HIVEC can be considered a feasible option in BCG failure/intolerant NMIBC patients, avoiding or postponing radical cystectomy in some particular subclasses of patients.