Correlation of Pathologic Complete Response with Survival After Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy in Bladder Cancer Treated with Cystectomy: A Meta-analysis
Petrelli F, Coinu A, Cabiddu M, Ghilardi M, Vavassori I, Barni S. Eur Urol. 2013 Jul 3. pii: S0302-2838(13)00664-7. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2013.06.049. [Epub ahead of print]


Oncology Department, Medical Oncology Unit, Azienda Ospedaliera Treviglio, Treviglio (BG), Italy. Electronic address:



Neoadjuvant chemotherapy before radical cystectomy (RC) is the preferred initial option for muscle-invasive bladder cancer (BCa). As in rectal and breast cancer, pathologic downstaging is associated with increased overall survival (OS).


We conducted a meta-analysis to determine whether pathologic complete response (pCR) (pT0N0M0) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy is associated with a better outcome in muscle-invasive BCa.


A systematic search was conducted in PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane Collaboration's Central register of controlled trials, and Embase for publications reporting outcomes of patients with and without pCR. All patients underwent neoadjuvant cisplatin-based polychemotherapy and RC. The primary outcome reported as relative risk (RR) was OS. Secondary end points were recurrence-free survival (RFS) and cancer-specific survival other than distant and locoregional RFS. A meta-analysis was performed using the fixed effects model or random effects model. Overall heterogeneity for RFS and OS was assessed with forest plots and the Q test.


A total of 13 trials were included, for a total of 886 patients analysed after neoadjuvant chemotherapy and RC, without any postoperative treatment. The pCR rate was 28.6%. Patients who achieved pCR in the primary tumour and the lymph nodes presented an RR for OS of 0.45 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.36-0.56; p<0.00001). The number needed to treat to prevent 1 death was 3.7 (absolute risk difference: -26%). The summary RR for RFS was 0.19 (95% CI, 0.09-0.39; p<0.00001).


Patients with BCa who achieved pCR (pT0N0M0 stage) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy have a better OS and RFS than do patients without pCR.