Background: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy (AC) versus surgery alone in patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC). Patients and methods: One hundred and ninety-four patients with pT2G3, pT3–4, N0–2 transitional cell bladder carcinoma were randomly allocated to control (92 patients) or to four courses of AC (102 patients). These latter patients were further randomly assigned to receive gemcitabine 1000 mg/m2 days 1, 8 and 15 and cisplatin 70 mg/m2 day 2 or gemcitabine as above plus cisplatin 70 mg/m2 day 15, every 28 days. Results: At a median follow-up of 35 months, the 5-year overall survival (OS) was 48.5%, with no difference between the two arms [P = 0.24, hazard ratio (HR) 1.29, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.84–1.99]. Mortality hazard was significantly correlated with Nodes (N) and Tumor (T) stage. The control and AC arms had comparable disease-free survival (42.3% and 37.2%, respectively; P = 0.70, HR 1.08, 95% CI 0.73–1.59). Only 62% of patients received the planned cycles. A significant higher incidence of thrombocytopenia was observed in patients receiving cisplatin on day 2 (P = 0.006). A similar global quality of life was observed in the two arms. Conclusion: The study was underpowered to demonstrate that AC with cisplatin and gemcitabine improves OS and disease-free survival in patients with MIBC.
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