Small cell carcinoma of bladder: A single-center prospective study of 25 cases treated in analogy to small cell lung cancer

Axel Bex, Jakko A. Nieuwenhuijzen, Martijn Kerst, Floris Pos, Hester van Boven, Wim Meinhardt, Simon Horenblas

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Objectives. To evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of a therapeutic algorithm for the management of small cell carcinoma of the bladder derived from the treatment of small cell lung cancer. Methods. During a 10-year period, 25 patients (23 men and 2 women; median age 64 years, with 8 [32%] older than 75 years) with small cell carcinoma of the bladder were defined as having limited disease (LD) or extensive disease (ED) in analogy to the classification of small cell lung cancer. Patients with LD were eligible for chemotherapy and sequential radiotherapy. Patients unfit for chemotherapy were offered complete transurethral resection and radiotherapy or cystectomy for large symptomatic tumors. Patients with ED were offered palliative chemotherapy. Results. Of the 25 patients, 17 (68%) had LD and 8 (32%) ED. Without regard to stage, the median survival of those receiving chemotherapy was 15 months versus 4 months for those who did not. The median survival for those with LD was 12 months versus 5 months for those with ED. Nine patients (52.9%) with LD could not undergo chemoradiotherapy because of comorbidity and reduced performance (n = 7), progression (n = 1), or drug-related death (n = 1). Five of those patients underwent TUR and radiotherapy and two cystectomy. Conclusions. The prognosis of small cell carcinoma of the bladder is poor. This treatment algorithm offers bladder sparing for most patients, with few long-term remissions in patients with small, confined tumors. None of the patients died of locoregional tumor progression, supporting that cystectomy is not the treatment of choice for those with LD. With a significant proportion of elderly patients with comorbidities, chemoradiotherapy was not feasible in more than one half of the patients with LD. © 2005 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-299
Number of pages5
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005

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