Bacillus calmette-guérin versus gemcitabine for intravesical therapy in high-risk superficial bladder cancer: A randomised prospective study

Massimo Porena, Michele Del Zingaro, Massimo Lazzeri, Luigi Mearini, Antonella Giannantoni, Vittorio Bini, Elisabetta Costantini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To evaluate the safety, tolerability and efficacy of adjuvant intravesical gemcitabine versus bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) in the treatment of high-risk superficial bladder cancer. Method: 64 patients with high-risk superficial bladder cancer (pT1 and/or G3 and/or CIS) were assigned to interventions (gemcitabine or BCG) in a randomised controlled trial. All the patients were evaluated for recurrence and progression rates (primary endpoint) and safety and tolerability (secondary endpoint). Results: The two groups were comparable in terms of baseline characteristics. Tolerability was better for gemcitabine, whereas the BCG group experienced the need for delayed treatment or withdrawal in 12.5% of cases. At a mean follow-up of 44 months, the recurrence rate in patients treated with BCG was 28.1%; the recurrence rate in patients who received gemcitabine was 53.1% (p = 0.037). Time to recurrence was shorter in patients treated with BCG (25.6 vs. 39.4 months, p = 0.042). No patients developed disease progression. Conclusions: Gemcitabine is significantly inferior to BCG, but given its favourable toxicity profile, it may be useful for patients intolerant to or otherwise unable to receive BCG.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-27
Number of pages5
JournalUrologia Internationalis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010



  • Bacillus Calmette-Guérin
  • Gemcitabine
  • Superficial bladder cancer, therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

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