What is the role of external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) in the treatment of bladder cancer?

Updated: Feb 23, 2021
  • Author: Kara N Babaian, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS  more...
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External beam radiation therapy has been shown to be inferior to radical cystectomy for the treatment of bladder cancer. The overall 5-year survival rate after treatment with external beam radiation is 20-40%, compared with a 90% 5-year survival after cystectomy for organ-confined disease. Nevertheless, external beam radiation therapy is used in various countries other than the United States for T2-T3 urothelial carcinoma of the bladder.

Neoadjuvant external beam radiation therapy has been attempted for muscle-invasive bladder cancer. However, no improvement in survival rate has been demonstrated.

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