Combination Chemotherapy in Metastatic Urothelial Cancer
A. Sella, D. Flex, D. Gafni, O. Rabinovitz, A. Sulkes, J. Baniel
Genitourinary Medical Oncology Unit, Depts. of Oncology and Urology, Rabin Medical Center, Beilinson Campus, Petah Tikva and Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv
The treatment of metastatic urothelial cancer is based on the combination of cisplatin, methotrexate, vinblastine and adriamycin (M-VAC). From November 1994 to May 1997 we treated 25 patients (51 men, 3 women, aged 50-77) with M-VAC. The tumor originated from the urinary bladder in 14 (56%) and the upper urinary tract in 11 (44%). Disease sites included: primary - 5 (25%), lymph nodes - 17 (68%), lungs - 10 (40%), bones - 8 (32%), pelvic mass and liver each - 4 (16%), with an overall median of 2 (1-5) sites per patient.
9 patients (38%) had complete responses and 8 (32%) had partial responses, for an overall response rate of 68% (95% CI 48.5%-85%). The median duration of response was 15.3 (1.6-29.6+) months. Median survival of responders was 19.1 (4.8-35.7+) months compared to 6.2 (0.7-11.2) for the non-responders (p<0.05). 13 (52%) of patients are alive, of whom 8 (32%) are free of disease and 5 with a single metastatic site on presentation at follow-up.
In the 118 treatment cycles we observed grade III-IV toxicity: myelosuppression 53 (45%), thrombocytopenia 4 (3%), stomatitis 8 (6.7%), diarrhea 3 (2.5%). There were 22 infectious episodes and 1 patient died of sepsis.
We achieved a high response rate with the combination M-VAC. However, only a third had long-term disease-free states and treatment was associated with excessive toxicity. Thera-peutic approaches with new agents are required to improve the response rate and toxicity.