The role of palliative radiotherapy in the management of elderly and frail patients with advanced bladder cancer: A survey by the AIRO uro-group

Giulia Marvaso, Luca Nicosia, Annamaria Vinciguerra, Paolo Borghetti, Luca Eolo Trodella, Giulio Francolini, Giorgia Timon, Fabio Matrone, Lucia Ognibene, Ciro Franzese, Barbara Alicja Jereczek-Fossa, Stefano Arcangeli

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Radiotherapy (RT) is rarely used in the palliative management of muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC). This survey aims to explore current care patterns within the Italian Radiation Oncologist community on this topic. In 2020, the uro-oncological study group of the Italian Association of Radiotherapy and Clinical Oncology (AIRO) conducted a survey evaluating the RT role in advanced MIBC. An electronic questionnaire was administered online to the society members asking for: general considerations, patients’ selection, and aim of the treatment, RT schedule and practical consideration, past and future perspective. Sixty-one questionnaires were returned (33% response rate). Most responders (62.30%) declared to work in a Center with a multidisciplinary uro-oncological team, and 8.20% to evaluate more than 20 patients with MIBC/year for palliative RT. Elderly patients were the most frequently evaluated (46.7%) and life expectancy was the most common selection criteria (44.60%). Thirty Gy in 10 fractions (58.9%), whole bladder as GTV (62.5%), PTV isotropic margins of 1.5–2 cm (44.6%) and IMRT/VMAT technique (58.14%) were the most common treatment choices. Patients amenable for bladder palliative RT were most commonly referred by the urologist (43.86%) or the multidisciplinary team (38%). The reported main reasons for the low involvement of radiation oncologist in the management of MIBC patients were low attention to the palliative setting in bladder cancer (37.5%); radiation oncologist not involved in the management of these patients (32.1%); cases not discussed in the multidisciplinary board (26.8%). This survey illustrated the current use of palliative RT for patients with advanced MIBC in Italy and suggested the need for a greater involvement of radiation oncologists in their management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
JournalMedical Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • AIRO
  • Bladder cancer
  • Palliative radiotherapy
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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