Primary Bladder Preservation Treatment for Urothelial Bladder Cancer

Matthew C. Biagioli, MD; Daniel C. Fernandez, MD, PhD; Philippe E. Spiess, MD; Richard B. Wilder, MD


Cancer Control. 2013;20(3):188-199. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: Significant advancements have occurred in surgical procedures and chemoradiation therapy for bladder preservation.

Methods: This review addresses primary treatment options for bladder cancer, including an overview of bladder-sparing strategies.

Results: Surgical series demonstrate that highly selected patients with cT2N0M0 urothelial bladder cancers can be managed with partial cystectomy and bilateral pelvic lymphadenectomy. For patients with cT2N0M0 to cT4aN0M0 urothelial bladder cancers, neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by radical cystectomy or maximal transurethral resection of the bladder tumor (TURBT) followed by chemoradiation therapy results in equivalent survival rates. However, each treatment option has a different impact on quality of life. Current chemoradiation therapy trials are evaluating novel approaches to improve outcomes.

Conclusions: Maximal TURBT followed by chemoradiation therapy demonstrated equivalent survival with radical cystectomy while preserving bladder function in the majority of patients. Future efforts will be directed toward improving survival and quality of life.


Radical cystectomy remains the mainstay of treatment in patients with muscle-invasive urothelial bladder cancer, with the primary goal of maximizing survival. However, important secondary goals include minimizing toxicity and maximizing quality of life (QOL). This review article describes modern approaches to bladder cancer, particularly bladder preservation strategies.