Efficacy of bacillus Calmette-Guérin Strains for Treatment of Nonmuscle Invasive Bladder Cancer: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis

Brock E. Boehm, John E. Cornell, Hanzhang Wang, Neelam Mukherjee, Jacob S. Oppenheimer, Robert S. Svatek

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Purpose We sought to determine the efficacy of genetically distinct bacillus Calmette-Guérin strains in preventing disease recurrence in patients with nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer. Materials and Methods We conducted a systematic review and network meta-analysis of trials evaluating bacillus Calmette-Guérin strains against all possible comparators (different bacillus Calmette-Guérin strains, chemotherapy and nonbacillus Calmette-Guérin biological therapies) with intravesical chemotherapy as the common comparator. MEDLINE® (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed) served as the primary data source, with the search from inception to October 2016 for clinical trials involving patients with nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer receiving bacillus Calmette-Guérin. Primary outcome measure was bladder cancer recurrence, defined as recurrent bladder tumor of any grade or stage. Random effect network meta-analysis provided estimates for outcomes and is presented as odds ratios. Results Across all possible comparators (65 trials, 12,246 patients, 9 strains) there were 2,177 recurrences in 5,642 treated patients (38.6%) and 2,316 recurrences in 5,441 comparators (42.6%). With chemotherapy as the common comparator (28 trials, 5,757 patients, 5 strains) Tokyo-172 (OR 0.39, 95% CI 0.16–0.93), Pasteur (OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.28–0.86) and TICE® (OR 0.61, 95% CI 0.40–0.93) strains were significantly better than chemotherapy at preventing recurrence. No bacillus Calmette-Guérin strain demonstrated significant superiority when compared to any other strain at preventing recurrence in the network meta-analysis. Conclusions Bacillus Calmette-Guérin strains exhibited significant differences in efficacy compared to chemotherapy. However, no definitive conclusions could be reached regarding strain superiority, and head-to-head trials are greatly needed to further understand the importance of strain selection in determining bacillus Calmette-Guérin efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-510
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2017


  • BCG vaccine
  • immunotherapy
  • urinary bladder neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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