Gemcitabine versus bacille Calmette-Guérin after initial bacille Calmette-Guérin failure in non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer

A multicenter prospective randomized trial


  • We thank Boldface Editors for linguistic revision.

  • Contributions to the study were as follows: conception and design, Autorino, Di Lorenzo, Perdonà; acquisition of data, Autorino, Cantiello, Di Lorenzo; analysis and interpretation of data, Autorino, De Sio, Di Lorenzo, Perdonà, Pignata; drafting the manuscript, Autorino, Di Lorenzo; critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, Ascierto, Damiano, De Sio, Simeone; statistical analysis, Di Lorenzo, Faiella; supervision, Perdonà; patient enrollment, Autorino, Cantiello, Faiella, Perdonà, Simeone.



The efficacy of intravesical gemcitabine was evaluated compared with repeated administration of bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) after BCG failure in high-risk, non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (BC).


In this multicenter, prospective, randomized, phase 2 trial, eligible patients were those with high-risk non-muscle-invasive BC, failing 1 course of BCG therapy. All patients were randomly allocated to Group A, receiving intravesical gemcitabine (at a dose of 2000 mg/50 mL) twice weekly for 6 consecutive weeks and then weekly for 3 consecutive weeks at 3, 6, and 12 months, or Group B, receiving intravesical BCG (Connaught strain, 81 mg/50 mL) over a 6-week induction course and each week for 3 weeks at 3, 6, and 12 months. Outcome measures were recurrence rate, time to first recurrence, and progression rate. Treatment-related complications were also evaluated.


Eighty participants were enrolled, 40 for each group 52.5% in Group A developed disease recurrence versus 87.5% of those in Group B (P = .002). There was no statistically significant difference in mean time to the first recurrence (Group A, 3.9 months; Group B, 3.1 months; P = .09). Kaplan-Meier analysis of 2-year recurrence-free survival showed significant differences between Group A and B (19% and 3%, respectively, P < .008). Seven of 21 (33%) patients in Group A and 13 of 35 (37.5%) patients in Group B had disease progression and underwent radical cystectomy (P = .12). Both intravesical administrations were generally well tolerated.


Gemcitabine might represent a second-line treatment option after BCG failure in high-risk non-muscle-invasive BC patients. Cancer 2010. © 2010 American Cancer Society.