Bladder only versus bladder plus pelvic lymph node chemoradiation for muscle-invasive bladder cancer.

Bladder-sparing chemoradiation therapy (CRT) is a definitive first-line treatment for muscle-invasive bladder cancer. The optimal radiotherapy target volume, either bladder-only (BO) or bladder plus pelvic lymph nodes (BPN), remains unclear.

We identified 2,104 patients in the National Cancer Database with cT2-4N0M0 urothelial cell carcinoma of the bladder treated with CRT following maximal transurethral resection of bladder tumor from 2004 to 2016. The exposure of interest was BO vs. BPN treatment volume. The primary outcome was overall survival (OS), compared between groups using Kaplan-Meier and multivariable Cox proportional hazards. Sensitivity analysis tested an interaction term for clinical T stage (T2 vs. T3-4) and radiation modality (3-dimensional conformal radiotherapy vs. intensity modulated radiotherapy or proton therapy). Annual use of BO vs. BPN from 2004 to 2016 was compared using Cochran-Armitage test.

A total of 578 patients were treated with BO and 1,526 patients treated with BPN CRT. There was a significant increase in BPN use from 2004 to 2016 (66.9%-76.8%, P < 0.0001). With a median follow-up of 6.2 years, there was no survival difference between groups: 5- and 10-year OS 27.4% (95% CI 23.4%-31.4%) in the BO group vs. 31.9% (95% CI 29.3%-34.6%) in the BPN group, and 13.1% (95% CI 9.7%-17.1%) in the BO group vs. 13.2% (95% CI 10.6%-16.0%) in the BPN group, respectively (log-rank P = 0.10). On multivariable analysis, there was no significant association between BPN and OS (adjusted HR 0.90, 95% CI 0.81-1.02, P = 0.09). On sensitivity analysis, we found no differential effect by T stage or radiation modality.

Use of pelvic lymph node radiation has risen in the US but may not impact long-term survival outcomes for patients with node-negative muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC). Optimizing radiation treatment volumes for CRT for MIBC will be important to study under prospective trials, such as the SWOG/NRG 1806.

Urologic oncology. 2023 Jan 30 [Epub ahead of print]

Sagar A Patel, Yuan Liu, Abhishek A Solanki, Brian C Baumann, Jason A Efstathiou, Ashesh B Jani, Albert J Chang, Benjamin Fischer-Valuck, Trevor J Royce

Department of Radiation Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University, Atlanta GA. Electronic address: ., Department of Radiation Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University, Atlanta GA., Department of Radiation Oncology, Loyola University Medical Center, Chicago IL., Department of Radiation Oncology, Washington University, St. Louis MO., Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston MA., Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California, Los Angeles CA., Denver Radiation Oncology at Swedish, Englewood CO., Department of Radiation Oncology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC.