Tag Archive for: urinary bladder neoplasms

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Residents’ podcast: Health‐related quality of life among non‐muscle‐invasive bladder cancer survivors: a population‐based study

Maria Uloko is a Urology Resident at the University of Minnesota Hospital. In this podcast she discusses a recent Article of the week:

Health‐related quality of life among non‐muscle‐invasive bladder cancer survivors: a population‐based study

Abstract

Objective

To examine the effect of non‐muscle‐invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) diagnosis and treatment on survivors’ quality of life (QoL).

Patients and Methods

Of the 5979 patients with NMIBC diagnosed between 2010 and 2014 in North Carolina, 2000 patients were randomly selected to be invited to enroll in this cross‐sectional study. Data were collected by postal mail survey. The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire‐Core (QLQ‐C30) and the NMIBC‐specific module were included in the survey to measure QoL. Descriptive statistics, t‐tests, anova, and Pearson’s correlation were used to describe demographics and to assess how QoL varied by sex, cancer stage, time since diagnosis, and treatment.

Results

A total of 398 survivors returned questionnaires (response rate: 23.6%). The mean QoL score for QLQ‐C30 (range 0–100, higher = better QoL in all domains but symptoms) for global health status was 73.6, function domain scores ranged from 83.9 to 86.5, and scores for the top five symptoms (insomnia, fatigue, dyspnoea, pain, and financial difficulties) ranged from 14.1 to 24.3. The lowest NMIBC‐specific QoL domain was sexual issues including sexual function, enjoyment, problems, and intimacy. Women had worse bowel problems, sexual function, and sexual enjoyment than men but better sexual intimacy and fewer concerns about contaminating their partner. Stage Ta had the highest global health status, followed by T1 and Tis. QoL did not vary by time since diagnosis except for sexual function. The cystectomy group (n = 21) had worse QoL in sexual function, discomfort with sexual intimacy, sexual enjoyment, and male sexual problems than the non‐cystectomy group (n = 336).

Conclusion

Survivors of NMIBC face a unique burden associated with their diagnosis and the often‐lifelong surveillance and treatment regimens. The finding has important implications for the design of tailored supportive care interventions to improve QoL for NMIBC survivors.

BJUI Podcasts are available on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/bju-international/id1309570262

Article of the week: Health‐related quality of life among non‐muscle‐invasive bladder cancer survivors: a population‐based study

Every week, the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an editorial written by a prominent member of the urology community and a video prepared by the authors; we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation. 

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one. Happy New Year!

Health‐related quality of life among non‐muscle‐invasive bladder cancer survivors: a population‐based study

Ahrang Jung*, Matthew E. Nielsen*, Jamie L. Crandell, Mary H. Palmer, Sophia K. Smith§, Ashley Leak Bryant* and Deborah K. Mayer*

*Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center,  School of Nursing, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, and  §School of Nursing, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA

Abstract

Objective

To examine the effect of non‐muscle‐invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) diagnosis and treatment on survivors’ quality of life (QoL).

Patients and Methods

Of the 5979 patients with NMIBC diagnosed between 2010 and 2014 in North Carolina, 2000 patients were randomly selected to be invited to enroll in this cross‐sectional study, which include the use of hemp products from the Hemp Seed distributor business which specialize in this. Data were collected by postal mail survey. The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire‐Core (QLQ‐C30) and the NMIBC‐specific module were included in the survey to measure QoL. Descriptive statistics, t‐tests, anova, and Pearson’s correlation were used to describe demographics and to assess how QoL varied by sex, cancer stage, time since diagnosis, and treatment.

Results

A total of 398 survivors returned questionnaires (response rate: 23.6%). The mean QoL score for QLQ‐C30 (range 0–100, higher = better QoL in all domains but symptoms) for global health status was 73.6, function domain scores ranged from 83.9 to 86.5, and scores for the top five symptoms (insomnia, fatigue, dyspnoea, pain, and financial difficulties) ranged from 14.1 to 24.3. The lowest NMIBC‐specific QoL domain was sexual issues including sexual function, enjoyment, problems, and intimacy. Women had worse bowel problems, sexual function, and sexual enjoyment than men but better sexual intimacy and fewer concerns about contaminating their partner. Stage Ta had the highest global health status, followed by T1 and Tis. QoL did not vary by time since diagnosis except for sexual function. The cystectomy group (n = 21) had worse QoL in sexual function, discomfort with sexual intimacy, sexual enjoyment, and male sexual problems than the non‐cystectomy group (n = 336).

Conclusion

Survivors of NMIBC face a unique burden associated with their diagnosis and the often‐lifelong surveillance and treatment regimens. The finding has important implications for the design of tailored supportive care interventions to improve QoL for NMIBC survivors.

Editorial: Beyond bladder cancer surveillance: building a survivorship clinic

As oncologists, we focus on obtaining the best cancer outcomes possible. The aim of treatment is to maximize survival and help patients live longer. As therapies continue to become more effective, more patients will become survivors. In the ongoing effort to extend the quantity of life left for our patients facing lethal cancers, thinking about the quality of that time is key. For urological oncologists, patients with a new bladder cancer diagnosis will someday face a new set of obstacles as survivors. In addition to surveillance and scans, asking patients about other issues such as their mental health, sexual function and financial solvency are also important.
Regardless of cancer stage, these issues apply to all of our patients with bladder cancer. Patients with non-muscle invasive disease need a seemingly interminable number of cystoscopies, with possible repeat biopsies or intravesical therapies. Patients with muscle-invasive disease undergo urinary diversion that entails significant changes as they will then have a stoma, neobladder or other diversion.
In this issue of BJUI, Jung et al. present a ‘snapshot’ of patients in North Carolina with bladder cancer that examines the impact of treatment on quality of life [1].  The study is valuable because it involves a number of topics that have previously not been studied in such detail. A total of 376 patients returned mailed surveys, a response rate of 24%. Most participants were on average 3 years from their diagnosis, the mean age of participants was 72 years, and the majority of patients were white men. Most participants (approximately three in four) had undergone transurethral resection of bladder tumour as the primary treatment and some (one in three) had received intravesical therapy. As with any work, there are some limitations which include the low overall numbers of participants, low
response rate, and lack of longitudinal data. Despite these limitations, there is still value to studying trends in this space, given the paucity of available data, and the authors offer some valuable insights. This paper provides evidence that for bladder cancer survivorship care, it is important to realize that other important issues exist and impact patient well-being.

• Bladder cancer patients may have financial issues. Bladder cancer patients may face financial toxicity that is in part attributable to the regular need for surveillance in order to identify recurrence or progression of disease.
• Cystectomy recovery can include discussions about sexual function. Patients who have undergone cystectomy may have discomfort with sexual intimacy. This was more common in men. Non-cystectomy patients may have better sexual function. Patients may be concerned about contaminating partners.
• Quality-of-life issues for bladder cancer patients can vary by gender. Men may have better sexual function and enjoyment than women, but also have more discomfort with intimacy and fears of contaminating their partners, while women may have higher levels of constipation and diarrhoea.
• Low risk bladder cancer (vs high risk) can have lower impact on quality of life. Patients with Ta disease had the highest global health status (compared with T1 and Tis). They also had the best physical and social functioning and less fatigue and financial problems. This underscores that Ta disease is different from other stages. As the authors point out, this may be attributable to a low progression risk, which means patients are less likely to need intravesical therapy.
• Sexual health can be affected and improve with time after a bladder cancer diagnosis. Sexual issues can last for years after a diagnosis. Men may face erection or ejaculation problems, and women may have vaginal dryness issues. With time, however, sexual function can improve and sexual function (including extent of sexual activity and interest in sex) was better in survivors further from their diagnosis.

Moving forward, we can use this study to prompt us to think about how our treatments impact our patients. Setting up dedicated survivorship clinics may be one practical strategy to provide this care in a systematic and streamlined way. Beyond treatment-related issues such as recurrence and progression, patients are affected in other ways. Issues with overall health, mental well-being, sleep, or sexual function occur for many. Setting up a standardized approach to cancer care can complement oncological surveillance and promote patient-centred care. A dedicated team, with a provider and physician assistant can create a clinical infrastructure and design a comprehensive template to remind us to query patients on a broader range of issues relevant to their recovery. In doing so, we can help patients with bladder cancer recover, as survivors (Fig. 1).

 

Fig. 1 Select aspects of building a bladder cancer survivorship clinic.

Start by establishing a focused team of providers to help guide more streamlined care
• Nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and physicians can be involved
• Each institution may have a unique infrastructure and use a distinct team set-up to create a clinic
• Administrative support and guidance are important to determine the clinical resources necessary or needed to begin a regular survivorship clinic

Streamline care and consider a template-based or guideline-driven approach to visits
• Based on stage of diagnosis, certain patients may need more regular cystoscopic surveillance while other patients will need follow-up visits that are coordinated with medical oncology and/or radiation oncology

Standardize collection of patient-reported outcomes during follow up visits
• Mental well-being
• Physical activity and exercise
• Sexual health
• Urinary and bowel function
• Financial well-being

Step back to evaluate the progress and iteratively troubleshoot issues as they arise
• Collect patient feedback and provider opinions
• Integrate these insights to improve the form and function of the clinic

by Matthew Mossanen and Stephen L. Chang

Reference

  1. Jung A, Nielsen ME, Crandell JL, et al. Health-related quality of life among non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer survivors: a population-based study. BJU Int 2020; 125: 38–48

Video: Health-related quality of life among non‐muscle‐invasive bladder cancer survivors

Health‐related quality of life among non‐muscle‐invasive bladder cancer survivors: a population‐based study

Abstract

Objective

To examine the effect of non‐muscle‐invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) diagnosis and treatment on survivors’ quality of life (QoL).

Patients and Methods

Of the 5979 patients with NMIBC diagnosed between 2010 and 2014 in North Carolina, 2000 patients were randomly selected to be invited to enroll in this cross‐sectional study. Data were collected by postal mail survey. The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire‐Core (QLQ‐C30) and the NMIBC‐specific module were included in the survey to measure QoL. Descriptive statistics, t‐tests, anova, and Pearson’s correlation were used to describe demographics and to assess how QoL varied by sex, cancer stage, time since diagnosis, and treatment.

Results

A total of 398 survivors returned questionnaires (response rate: 23.6%). The mean QoL score for QLQ‐C30 (range 0–100, higher = better QoL in all domains but symptoms) for global health status was 73.6, function domain scores ranged from 83.9 to 86.5, and scores for the top five symptoms (insomnia, fatigue, dyspnoea, pain, and financial difficulties) ranged from 14.1 to 24.3. The lowest NMIBC‐specific QoL domain was sexual issues including sexual function, enjoyment, problems, and intimacy. Women had worse bowel problems, sexual function, and sexual enjoyment than men but better sexual intimacy and fewer concerns about contaminating their partner. Stage Ta had the highest global health status, followed by T1 and Tis. QoL did not vary by time since diagnosis except for sexual function. The cystectomy group (n = 21) had worse QoL in sexual function, discomfort with sexual intimacy, sexual enjoyment, and male sexual problems than the non‐cystectomy group (n = 336).

Conclusion

Survivors of NMIBC face a unique burden associated with their diagnosis and the often‐lifelong surveillance and treatment regimens. The finding has important implications for the design of tailored supportive care interventions to improve QoL for NMIBC survivors.

 

Article of the week: Palliative care use amongst patients with bladder cancer

Every week, the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community, a video produced by the authors and a visual abstract created by Charles Scott and Nurhan Abbud. These are intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation. 

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Palliative care use among patients with bladder cancer

Lee A. Hugar*, Samia H. Lopa*, Jonathan G. Yabes, Justin A. Yu, Robert M. Turner II*, Mina M. Fam*, Liam C. MacLeod*, Benjamin J. Davies*, Angela B. Smith§¶ and Bruce L. Jacobs*

 

*Department of Urology, Department of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Section of Palliative Care and Medical Ethics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, §Department of Urology and Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

 

Abstract

Objectives

To describe the rate and determinants of palliative care use amongst Medicare beneficiaries with bladder cancer and encourage a national dialogue on improving coordinated urological, oncological, and palliative care in patients with genitourinary malignancies.

Patients and methods

Using Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results‐Medicare data, we identified patients diagnosed with muscle‐invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) between 2008 and 2013. Our primary outcome was receipt of palliative care, defined as the presence of a claim submitted by a Hospice and Palliative Medicine subspecialist. We examined determinants of palliative care use using logistic regression analysis.

Fig. 1. Time from diagnosis to receipt of palliative care. The timing of palliative care receipt for those patients who received palliative care (n = 262). Strata with <11 patients were suppressed in accordance with SEER‐Medicare guidelines

Results

Over the study period, 7303 patients were diagnosed with MIBC and 262 (3.6%) received palliative care. Of 2185 patients with advanced bladder cancer, defined as either T4, N+, or M+ disease, 90 (4.1%) received palliative care. Most patients that received palliative care (>80%, >210/262) did so within 24 months of diagnosis. On multivariable analysis, patients receiving palliative care were more likely to be younger, female, have greater comorbidity, live in the central USA, and have undergone radical cystectomy as opposed to a bladder‐sparing approach. The adjusted probability of receiving palliative care did not significantly change over time.

Conclusions

Palliative care provides a host of benefits for patients with cancer, including improved spirituality, decrease in disease‐specific symptoms, and better functional status. However, despite strong evidence for incorporating palliative care into standard oncological care, use in patients with bladder cancer is low at 4%. This study provides a conservative baseline estimate of current palliative care use and should serve as a foundation to further investigate physician‐, patient‐, and system‐level barriers to this care.

 

 

 

Editorial: Palliative care in patients with bladder cancer: an opportunity for value improvement?

The concept of improving value in healthcare translates, in practical terms, to maximizing patient outcomes per dollar spent [1]. Palliative care has been shown to improve quality of life and possibly survival while reducing overall treatment costs amongst the seriously ill by as much as 33% per patient [2]. In this context, appropriate integration of palliative services within urological oncology care can serve as a mechanism for improving value in the field.

In this issue of BJUI, Hugar et al. [3] provide a valuable characterization of the current state of palliative care service utilization for patients with bladder cancer. Within a contemporary population of Medicare beneficiaries, the authors found receipt of palliative care services by only 4.1% of patients with advanced bladder cancer (defined as those with T4, N+, or M+ disease). Most interestingly, this value did not differ in a statistically significant manner from the rate of utilization amongst a broader cohort including all patients with muscle‐invasive (i.e. T2) bladder cancer collectively, nor did the rate of utilization vary by time.

These findings suggest that, generally, clinicians are not taking advantage of a high‐value service for patients with bladder cancer. Furthermore, the fact that utilization rates are not distinctly higher for those who meet criteria for early palliative care under American Society for Clinical Oncology guidelines (i.e. those with metastatic or locally advanced disease) indicates that barriers to adoption may be rooted in factors beyond simple recognition of advanced malignancy. Considered in the context of this study showing no momentum towards increasing adoption, one must consider what clinical or policy interventions could alter current utilization trends.

The authors appropriately identify that absence of physician buy‐in and a traditional lack of emphasis on cost‐conscious care are among the possible explanations for the low, flat utilization figures they observed. Indeed, fee‐for‐service reimbursement is generally oriented towards rewarding volume over quality and is known to encourage inefficiencies, high costs, service duplication, and a lack of care coordination. As such, a powerful corrective counterbalance to these forces could include restructuring reimbursement such that clinicians’ financial incentives become more closely aligned with patient outcomes and goals [4]. Palliative care is merely one of the high‐value services that stands to be more appropriately integrated into clinical practice under such reforms.

Value‐oriented alternative payment models, such as bundled payments, have been shown to improve coordination of care amongst providers [5]. And, in fact, there are already data suggesting that integration of palliative services into an improved care coordination environment yields improved outcomes. For example, a comprehensive care management plan known as the Aetna Compassionate Care Programme was shown to decrease lengths of inpatient hospitalization while resulting in overall end‐of‐life cost savings of 22% [6].

As the appropriate rate of palliative care utilization in muscle‐invasive bladder cancer remains open to debate, so too does the question of which interventions could assist in moving towards that level. In that sense, employing reimbursement incentives as a driver of more appropriate utilization of palliative care services should be viewed as but one of many potential approaches to improve the practice patterns illustrated in the present study. Future research will be necessary to better elucidate both the barriers to palliative care adoption as well as the most effective tactics to overcome them. The authors should be commended for providing the preliminary contextual data for these conversations, as urologists seek to integrate palliative services properly into high‐value care delivery for patients with advanced malignancy.

 

References

  1. Kaplan, RSPorter, MEHow to solve the cost crisis in health care. Harv Bus Rev 20118946– 52
  2. Brumley, REnguidanos, SJamison, P et al. Increased satisfaction with care and lower costs: results of a randomized trial of in‐home palliative care. J Am Geriatr Soc 200755993– 1000
  3. Hugar, LLopa, SYabes, J et al. Palliative care use among patients with bladder cancer. BJU Int 2019123968– 75
  4. Miller, HDFrom volume to value: better ways to pay for health care. Health Aff (Millwood) 2009;281418– 28
  5. Bakker, DHStruijs, JNBaan, CB et al. Early results from adoption of bundled payment for diabetes care in the Netherlands show improvement in care coordination. Health Aff (Millwood)201231426– 33
  6. Spettell, CMRawlins, WSKrakauer, R et al. A comprehensive case management program to improve palliative care. J Palliat Med 200912827– 32

 

Article of the week: Persistent muscle-invasive BCa after neoadjuvant chemotherapy: an analysis of SEER‐Medicare data

Every week, the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community. These are intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation. 

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Persistent muscle‐invasive bladder cancer after neoadjuvant chemotherapy: an analysis of Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results‐Medicare data

Giulia Lane*, Michael Risk*, Yunhua Fan*, Suprita Krishna* and Badrinath Konety*

 

*Department of Urology, University of Minnesota, and Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Abstract

Objectives

To evaluate whether patients with persistent muscle‐invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) after undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) and radical cystectomy (RC) have worse overall survival (OS) and cancer‐specific survival (CSS) than patients with similar pathology who undergo RC alone.

Materials and Methods

Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)‐Medicare database, we identified the records of patients with pT2‐4N0M0 disease who underwent RC, with and without NAC, for MIBC between 2004 and 2011. To evaluate survival outcomes in those with MIBC after NAC vs patients with MIBC who underwent RC alone, we used Kaplan–Meier time‐to‐event analysis and Cox proportional hazard regression modelling. Landmark analysis was conducted to mitigate immortal time bias. Propensity scoring was used to decrease the risk of selection bias.

Fig. 2. Propensity‐weighted Kaplan–Meier curves. Overall survival and cancer‐specific survival among patients with persistent pT2‐4N0M0 bladder cancer after radical cystectomy from time of diagnosis. (A) Overall survival and (B) cancer‐specific survival. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) + radical cystectomy (RC) in red. RC alone in blue.

Results

Of the 1 886 patients with persistent pT2‐4 disease at the time of RC, 1505 underwent RC alone and 381 received NAC + RC. After adjusting for confounders, the propensity‐weighted risk of death from bladder cancer after diagnosis did not differ between the groups (hazard ratio [HR] 0.72, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.72–1.08; P = 0.23); however, the risk of death from all causes was worse in the RC‐alone group (HR 0.79, 95% CI0.67–0.94; P = 0.006).

Conclusions

Patients who had persistent MIBC after platinum‐based NAC + RC vs RC alone derived an OS benefit but not a CSS benefit from NAC. This may represent a selection bias favouring patients who were selected for NAC; however, the OS benefit was not evident in patients with persistent pT3‐T4N0M0 disease. This study underscores the importance of future research investigating methods to identify patients who will respond to NAC for bladder cancer. It also highlights the need to consider adjuvant therapy in patients who have persistent MIBC after NAC.

 

 

Editorial: The bladder cancer conundrum: how do we treat the right tumour with the right treatment, at the right time?

The bladder cancer conundrum is how to accurately determine the type of tumour, treatment and timing that is ideal for each patient? This is epitomised by the use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) for muscle‐invasive bladder cancer (MIBC). MIBC is a deadly disease; if untreated, the 2‐year mortality rate is 85% [1] and even if treated the overall survival (OS) rate at 5 years is 50%. In this context, NAC is appealing because it may improve outcomes. In 2003, a landmark study by Grossman et al. [2] examined NAC prior to radical cystectomy (RC) for MIBC. The median survival (44 vs 77 months, P = 0.06) and pT0 rates, which equate to the best survival rates (30% vs 15%, P < 0.001), were improved with NAC. A meta‐analysis of 11 randomised control trials in >3000 patients reported an OS benefit of 5% at 5 years with platinum‐based NAC [3]. Whilst NAC improves outcomes, especially for those patients who achieve pT0, it is also important to examine outcomes for patients with persistent MIBC and to determine if NAC is helpful in those patients.

In this issue of the BJUI, Lane et al. [4] attempt to answer this question by examining outcomes for patients with persistent MIBC after RC alone or NAC followed by RC. Using Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)‐Medicare data, the authors examined 1505 patients that underwent RC alone and 381 patients that received NAC and RC from 2004 to 2011. The authors report that after propensity weighted Kaplan–Meier analysis, the 5‐year OS rate was improved amongst patients that received NAC and RC as compared to patients that had RC alone if there was pT2–T4N0M0 disease on final pathology (43.5% vs 37.2%, P = 0.001). However, there was no difference in cancer‐specific survival (CSS) for NAC with RC compared to only RC (53.7% vs 58.4%, P = 0.76). After adjusting for confounders, the authors found similar results. The use of NAC and RC was found to have an OS benefit (hazard ratio [HR] 0.79, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.67–0.94; P = 0.006) for pT2–4N0M0 patients but not a CSS benefit (HR 0.88, 95% CI 0.72–1.08; P = 0.23).

Since previous studies have established the value of NAC in patients that are down‐staged to pT0 disease, the authors also focused their subset analysis on patients not down‐staged and instead had persistent MIBC. On subset analysis, NAC and RC patients with pT2N0M0 disease had an OS but no CSS benefit. For pT3–T4N0M0 patients, there was no OS or CSS benefit. This may suggest that a subset of non‐responders, such as those with pT2 disease, may experience some benefit from NAC despite persistent disease. Lastly, it is worth noting that whilst NAC improves outcomes, is better tolerated before surgery than adjuvant therapy, and is supported by high‐quality evidence, utilisation remains suboptimal. In this study [4], 381 of 1886 patients (or only 20%) had NAC and only 55% of these received cisplatin‐based therapy. Utilisation patterns vary and updated studies may show different results though. Overall, the authors should be congratulated for a study that is relevant, thoughtful and directed at an important clinical topic.

In this study [4], one issue that is raised is the challenges of accurate preoperative staging. The authors in this paper analysed patients according to pathological stage to limit confounding, as determining the exact stage of patients prior to NAC and RC cannot be done exactly. In this study, pT2 patients had on OS benefit after NAC but pT3–4 patients did not benefit. Clinical staging relies on transurethral resection, imaging and examination under anaesthesia to establish the diagnosis. Without final staging, it is difficult to precisely parse out which patients are clinical T2 vs T3 disease before RC. Predicting which patients are non‐responders is particularly important because these patients may be exposed unnecessarily to the risks of chemotherapy and may have delays in surgery that can negatively impact their outcomes. Therefore, even if the optimal treatment is known, identifying which patients will benefit can be challenging.

Fortunately, there is an exciting future for MIBC on the horizon. First, traditionally bladder cancer staging relies on determining the depth of invasion. In the future, more refined categorisation may help better characterise tumour subtypes. Through innovative multiplatform analyses, an improved understanding of distinct subtypes in bladder cancer has emerged [5]. Consequently, better subtype recognition may herald more targeted, and effective, therapy. Next, it is essential to determine the right type of treatment. Now, NAC is the standard of care for MIBC. However, there are several exciting trials examining other effective options to be used alternatively or synergistically. For example, the use of immunotherapy in the preoperative space is being studied and may shift how we manage MIBC. Lastly, the question of timing is key. Now, the order of surgery and systemic therapy may be a new frontier and perhaps the most significant question we are trying to solve. The possibility of understanding new subtypes of tumours and having new treatment options may require new timing for specific therapies in certain patients. It is conceivable that certain subtypes would be best managed with systemic therapy immediately whilst others with upfront surgery.

Certainly, more work needs to be done. So, what can we do now? We can promote the overall well‐being of our patients. Urologists can be conduits to help patients live healthy lifestyles and engage in behaviours that will promote psychological stability and physical strength. Encouraging daily activity, increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and, if needed, weight loss are options. Smoking cessation represents an imperative opportunity where urologists can make a positive impact [6]. Prehabilitation programmes focused on preparation for surgery can be done during NAC or while waiting for surgery and incorporate these elements. In this way, waiting time is leveraged to make small but cumulative improvements – ‘a little bit at a time’ is possible.

For now, we will continue to study the bladder cancer conundrum: subtypes of tumours, various treatments, and the best timing for therapy. Regardless of these results, it is likely patients with bladder cancer will still need some combination of surgery, systematic therapy and supportive care while they heal. In the interim, promoting well‐being is one way to help patients live healthier lives whilst making them more resilient to undergo whatever treatments may emerge next.

by Matthew Mossanen and Adam S. Kibel

References

  1. Prout, GRMarshall, VFThe prognosis with untreated bladder tumors. Cancer 19569551– 8
  2. Grossman, HBNatale, RBTangen, CM et al. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy plus cystectomy compared with cystectomy alone for locally advanced bladder cancer. N Engl J Med 2003349859– 66
  3. Advanced Bladder Cancer Overview CollaborationNeoadjuvant chemotherapy for invasive bladder cancer. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 20052CD005246.
  4. Lane, GRisk, MFan, YKrishna, SKonety, BPersistent muscle‐invasive bladder cancer after neoadjuvant chemotherapy: an analysis of Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results‐Medicare dataBJU Int 2019123818– 25
  5. Robertson, AGKim, JAl‐Ahmadie, H et al. Comprehensive molecular characterization of muscle‐invasive bladder cancer. Cell 20181741033
  6. Mossanen, MCaldwell, JSonpavde, GLehmann, LSTreating patients with bladder cancer: is there an ethical obligation to include smoking cessation counseling? J Clin Oncol 2018; 36: 3189– 91

Article of the month: Effect of timing of an immediate instillation of mitomycin C after TUR in 941 patients with NMIBC

Every month, the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Month from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an accompanying editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community. This blog is intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation.

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

The effect of timing of an immediate instillation of mitomycin C after transurethral resection in 941 patients with non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer

Judith Bosschieter*, R. Jeroen A. van Moorselaar*, André N. Vis*, Tessa van Ginkel*, Birgit I. Lissenberg‐Witte, Goedele M.A. Beckers* and Jakko A. Nieuwenhuijzen*

 

Departments of *Urology and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Abstract

Objective

To investigate whether the timing of an immediate instillation of mitomycin C (on the day of transurethral resection of bladder tumour [TURBT] or 1 day later) has an impact on time to recurrence of non‐muscle‐invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC).

Patients and Methods

All patients with NMIBC who were enrolled in a prospective trial between 1998 and 2003, and treated with an early mitomycin C instillation (on the day of TURBT or 1 day later), were selected. Statistical analysis was performed with Kaplan–Meier curves and multivariable Cox regression.

Fig. 1 Kaplan–Meier analysis showing time to recurrence for patients treated with an immediate instillation of MMC on the day of TURBT (Day‐0 group) or 1 day after (Day‐1 group).

Results

Administering an instillation of mitomycin C on the day of TURBT or 1 day later did not show a statistically significant difference in time to recurrence in a univariable model (log‐rank P = 0.99). After correcting for the number of scheduled adjuvant instillations, no statistically significant difference could be detected either: hazard ratio 1.05 (95% confidence interval 0.81–1.35, P = 0.74).

Conclusion

These data do not support the hypothesis that a very early instillation (on the day of TURBT) of mitomycin C decreases the risk of recurrence as compared with an early instillation (1 day after TURBT).

Article of the Week: Impact of bladder cancer on health‐related quality of life

Every Week, the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an accompanying editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community. This blog is intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation.

Finally, the third post under the Article of the Week heading on the homepage will consist of additional material or media. This week we feature a video discussing the paper.

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Impact of bladder cancer on health‐related quality of life

Angela B. Smith*, Byron Jaeger, Laura C. Pinheiro§, Lloyd J. EdwardsHung-Jui Tan*, Matthew E. Nielsen*¶ and Bryce B. Reeve§

 

*Department of Urology Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Multidisciplinary Genitourinary OncologyDepartment of Biostatistics, Gillings School of Global Public Health§Department of Health Policy and Management, Gillings School of Global Public Health , and Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

 

Abstract

Objectives

To identify changes in health‐related quality of life (HRQoL) after diagnosis of bladder cancer in older adults in comparison with a group of adults without bladder cancer (controls).

Patients and Methods

Data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results registries were linked with Medicare Health Outcomes Survey (MHOS) data. Medicare beneficiaries aged ≥65 years in the period 1998–2013, who were diagnosed with bladder cancer between baseline and follow‐up through the MHOS, were matched with control subjects without cancer using propensity scores. Linear mixed models were used to estimate predictors of HRQoL changes.

Results

After matching, 535 patients with bladder cancer (458 non‐muscle‐invasive bladder cancer [NMIBC] and 77 with muscle‐invasive bladder cancer [MIBC]) and 2 770 control subjects without cancer were identified. Both patients with NMIBC and those with MIBC reported significant declines in HRQoL scores over time vs controls: physical component summary −2 and −5.3 vs −0.4, respectively; bodily pain −1.9 and −3.6 vs −0.7; role physical −2.7 and −4.7 vs −0.7; general health −2.4 and −6.1 vs 0; vitality −1.2 and −3.5 vs −0.1; and social functioning −2.1 and −5.7 vs −0.8. All scores ranged from 0 to 100. When stratified by time since diagnosis, HRQoL improved over 1 year for some domains (role physical), but remained lower across most domains.

Conclusions

After diagnosis, patients with bladder cancer experienced significant declines in physical, mental and social HRQoL relative to controls. Decrements were most pronounced among individuals with MIBC. Methods to better understand and address HRQoL decrements among patients with bladder cancer are needed.

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