Department of Urology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.
It is not known how long follow-up cystoscopy in tumour-free bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG)-treated patients should continue.
Determine the incidence of late recurrences and progression after a tumour-free period of >5 yr after BCG treatment.
Data on 542 patients with non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer treated with BCG between 1986 and 2003 were analysed. Of 542 patients, 204 patients (37.6%) were tumour-free for ≥5 yr. The median tumour-free period was 105.5 mo (range: 60-252 mo).
To compare the tumour-free group with patients who were not tumour-free for 5 yr, traditional variables (tumour grade, tumour stage, age, gender, tumour number and size, primary or recurrent tumour, BCG strain, previous chemotherapy, previous upper tract tumour, number of earlier resections, and European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer recurrence and progression risk groups) were analysed using the Fisher exact test for dichotomous variables, the Mantel-Haenszel chi-square test for ordered categorical variables, and the Mann-Whitney U-test for continuous variables. Kaplan-Meier curves for time to recurrence were constructed using Statistica software (StatSoft, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA). Differences between groups were tested with the log-rank test. For continuous variables, Cox proportional hazard regression was performed to find significant effect on the time to recurrence.
Twenty-two of 204 patients (10.8%) had a recurrence after being tumour-free for ≥5 yr. The Kaplan-Meier estimated risk for recurrence was 12.5% at 10 yr and 20.5% at 15 yr. Among patients with TaG1-TaG2 before BCG, 11 of 79 patients (13.9%) had recurrences, including three patients with invasive extravesical tumours. Among the bladder recurrences were seven TaG1s and one carcinoma in situ (CIS). Among the 125 patients with TaG3/CIS/T1 before BCG, 11 patients (8.8%) had recurrences, including 2 patients with invasive ureter tumours. The bladder recurrences were one T2, four CIS, and four TaG1. Late recurrences were 8.5 times more common among patients with recurrent tumours before BCG compared with patients treated after their first tumour episode. The study was retrospective and nonrandomised but unselected and population-based.
A tumour-free period of 5 yr after BCG treatment is a good prognostic sign, but recurrences after >10 yr are not unusual. Literature data and the present report support cystoscopy follow-up for ≥10-15 tumour-free years, at least among patients with recurrent tumours and/or high-grade lesions before BCG treatment.
Holmäng S, Ströck V. Are you the author?
Reference: Eur Urol. 2011 Nov 15. Epub ahead of print.