Evidence-based Assessment of Current and Emerging Bladder-sparing Therapies for Non-muscle-invasive Bladder Cancer After Bacillus Calmette-Guerin Therapy: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Ashish M. Kamat, Seth P. Lerner, Michael O'Donnell, Mihaela V. Georgieva, Min Yang, Brant A. Inman, Wassim Kassouf, Stephen A. Boorjian, Mark D. Tyson, Girish S. Kulkarni, Sam S. Chang, Badrinath R. Konety, Robert S. Svatek, Arjun Balar, J. Alfred Witjes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


CONTEXT: Currently, there is no standard of care for patients with non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) who recur despite bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) therapy. Although radical cystectomy is recommended, many patients decline to undergo or are ineligible to receive it. Multiple agents are being investigated for use in this patient population. OBJECTIVE: To systematically synthesize and describe the efficacy and safety of current and emerging treatments for NMIBC patients after treatment with BCG. EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: A systematic literature search of MEDLINE, Embase, and the Cochrane Controlled Register of Trials (period limited to January 2007-June 2019) was performed. Abstracts and presentations from major conference proceedings were also reviewed. Randomized controlled trials were assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. Data for single-arm trials were pooled using a random-effect meta-analysis with the proportions approach. Trials were grouped based on the minimum number of prior BCG courses required before enrollment and further stratified based on the proportion of patients with carcinoma in situ (CIS). EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: Thirty publications were identified with data from 23 trials for meta-analysis, of which 17 were single arm. Efficacy and safety outcomes varied widely across studies. Heterogeneity across trials was reduced in subgroup analyses. The pooled 12-mo response rates were 24% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 16-32%) for trials with two or more prior BCG courses and 36% (95% CI: 25-47%) for those with one or more prior BCG courses. In a subgroup analysis, inclusion of ≥50% of patients with CIS was associated with a lower response. CONCLUSIONS: The variability in efficacy and safety outcomes highlights the need for consistent endpoint reporting and patient population definitions. With promising emerging treatments currently in development, efficacious and safe therapeutic options are urgently needed for this difficult-to-treat patient population. PATIENT SUMMARY: We examined the efficacy and safety outcomes of treatments for non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer after bacillus Calmette-Guerin therapy. Outcomes varied across studies and patient populations, but emerging treatments currently in development show promising efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-340
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Urology Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Bacillus Calmette-Guerin unresponsive
  • Bladder preservation therapy
  • Bladder sparing
  • Non–muscle-invasive bladder cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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