Trends in Treatment Strategies and Comparison of Outcomes in Lymph Node Positive Bladder Cancer: An Analysis of the National Cancer Database


      To utilize a national dataset to compare outcomes and demonstrate trends in treatment for lymph node positive bladder cancer (N+ BC).


      The National Cancer Database (2006-2014) was queried for cT2-4N1-3M0 N+ BC patients treated with radical cystectomy alone (RC), neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC), adjuvant chemotherapy (AC), chemoradiation (CRT), chemotherapy alone (CT), or no definitive treatment (NT). Survival by treatment was analyzed using Kaplan-Meier and multivariable Cox-proportional hazards regression. Pathologic down-staging was analyzed using univariable and multivariable logistic regression models. A univariable logistic regression model of treatment by year identified treatment trends.


      Among 3241 patients (cN1, 46%; cN2, 44%; cN3 10%), the majority underwent combined chemotherapy and RC (NAC, 418; AC, 591; RC, 567; CRT, 392; CT, 1068; NT, 205). Overall survival did not differ between NAC and AC, but both had improved survival compared to RC. All other treatment groups had worse survival outcomes compared to NAC. Down-staging to pT0 (adjusted odds ratio = 26.39) and pN0 (adjusted odds ratio = 6.88) was higher for NAC than RC. Utilization of NAC has increased, AC and RC has declined, and CRT and NT is unchanged.


      Combined chemotherapy and RC demonstrates best survival outcomes for N+ BC, with complete pathologic response to pT0N0 after NAC associated with a 5-year overall survival rate of ∼85%. However, there is no significant difference between NAC and AC. CRT is associated with worse oncologic outcomes compared to RC with perioperative chemotherapy, but improved survival compared to RC or CT.
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