Dramatic Impact of Centralization and a Multidisciplinary Bladder Cancer Program in Reducing Mortality: The CABEM Project

PURPOSE Muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) is an aggressive disease with a complex treatment. In Brazil, as in most developing countries, data are scarce, but mortality seems exceedingly high. We have created a centralization program involving a multidisciplinary clinic in a region comprising seven municipalities. The aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of a multidisciplinary clinic and a centralization-of-care program (CABEM program) on MIBC treatment in Brazil.

PATIENTS AND METHODS A total of 116 consecutive patients were evaluated. In group 1, 58 patients treated for MIBC before establishing a bladder cancer program from 2011 to 2017 were retrospectively evaluated. Group 2 represented 58 patients treated for MIBC after the implementation of the CABEM centralization program. Age, sex, staging, comorbidity indexes, mortality rates, type of treatment, and perioperative outcomes were compared.

RESULTS Patients from group 2 versus 1 were older (68 v 64.2 years, P = .02) with a higher body mass index (25.5 v 22.6 kg/m2 , P = .017) and had more comorbidities according to both age-adjusted Charlson Comorbidity Index (4.2 v 2.8, P = .0007) and Isbarn index (60.6 v 43.9, P = .0027). Radical cystectomy (RC) was the only treatment modality for patients in group 1, whereas in group 2, there were 31 (53%) RC; three (5%) partial cystectomies; seven (12%) trimodal therapies; 13 (22%) palliative chemotherapies; and three (5%) exclusive transurethral resections of the bladder tumor. No patient in group 1 received neoadjuvant chemotherapy, whereas it was offered to 69% of patients treated with RC. Ninety-day mortality rates were 34.5% versus 5% for groups 1 versus 2 (P , .002). One-year mortality was also lower in group 2.

CONCLUSION Our data support that a centralization program, a structured bladder clinic associated with protocols, a multidisciplinary team, and inclusion of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments can pleasingly improve outcomes for patients with MIBC.

Fernando Korkes, MD, PhD1,2; Frederico Timoteo, MD1,2; Suelen Martins, MD3 ; Matheus Nascimento, MD1 ; Camila Monteiro, MD1 ; Jose H. Santiago, MD1 ; Willy Baccaglini, MD1,2; Marcel A. Silveira, MD1 ; Eduardo F. Pedroso, MD1 ; Marcello M. Gava, PhD1 ; Prashant Patel, MD4 ; Phillipe E. Spiess, MD5 ; and Sidney Glina, MD, PhD

  1. Division of Urology, Faculdade de Medicina do ABC, Santo Andre, Brazil
  2. Hospital Municipal da Vila Santa Catarina and Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, São Paulo, Brazil
  3. Division of Oncology, Faculdade de Medicina do ABC, Santo Andre,´ Brazil
  4. University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
  5. Moffit Cancer Center, Tampa, FL

Source: Korkes, F., Timoteo F., Martins S., et al. "Dramatic Impact of Centralization and a Multidisciplinary Bladder Cancer Program in Reducing Mortality: The CABEM Project." JCO Global Oncology. 2021. no. 7. 1547-1555.