To determine whether neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) is a predictor of postoperative complications, length of stay (LOS), or operating time after radical cystectomy (RC) for bladder cancer.
To determine whether neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) is a predictor of postoperative complications, length of stay (LOS), or operating time after radical cystectomy (RC) for bladder cancer.
A retrospective review of the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) database was performed to identify patients receiving NAC before RC from 2005 to 2011. Bivariable and multivariable analyses were used to determine whether NAC was associated with 30-day perioperative outcomes, e.g. complications, LOS, and operating time.
Of the 878 patients who underwent RC for bladder cancer in our study, 78 (8.9%) received NAC. Excluding those patients who were ineligible for NAC due to renal insufficiency, 78/642 (12.1%) received NAC. In all, 457 of the 878 patients (52.1%) undergoing RC had at least one complication ≤30 days of RC, including 43 of 78 patients (55.1%) who received NAC and 414 of 800 patients (51.8%) who did not (P = 0.58). On multivariable logistic regression, NAC was not a predictor of complications (P = 0.87), re-operation (P = 0.16), wound infection (P = 0.32), or wound dehiscence (P = 0.32). Using multiple linear regression, NAC was not a predictor of increased operating time (P = 0.24), and patients undergoing NAC had a decreased LOS (P = 0.02).
Our study is the first large multi-institutional analysis specifically comparing complications after RC with and without NAC. Using a nationally validated, prospectively maintained database specifically designed to measure perioperative outcomes, we found no increase in perioperative complications or surgical morbidity with NAC. Considering these findings and the well-established overall survival benefit over surgery alone, efforts are needed to improve the uptake of NAC.
Radical cystectomy (RC) with pelvic lymph node dissection (PLND) is the standard of care for muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) as well as select cases of recurrent high-risk non-MIBC . Overall 5-year survival after RC with PLND is 50% for organ-confined disease, which decreases to 30% with extravesical extension and lymph node involvement . Disease recurrence after RC is relatively common and occurs with greater frequency at distant sites compared with locoregional (20–50% vs 5–15%) , suggesting that systemic treatment methods may improve outcomes of advanced bladder cancer. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) with platinum-based combined therapy before RC with PLND provides a well-established 5% overall 5-year survival benefit compared with surgery alone . Additionally, studies have not shown any increase in complications associated with the use of NAC before RC , although a paucity of data exist specifically examining this question .
Clinical guidelines recommend ‘strongly considering’ the use of NAC before RC in MIBC based on Level 1 evidence for survival benefit, tolerable morbidity and mortality, and the lack of evidence for worse operative outcomes [1, 6]. Despite these recommendations, NAC before RC remains underused, even at tertiary care centres with multidisciplinary cancer programmes, with no higher than 16% of patients reportedly receiving NAC [7, 8]. Reasons for underuse are unclear. However, one potential explanation is the concern for increased perioperative complications in those patients receiving NAC. Available data on this specific question are sparse, and conclusions have largely been derived from studies not specifically designed to evaluate complications [4, 9, 10]. The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) is a nationally validated, risk-adjusted, outcomes-based database that prospectively captures and reports data on 135 variables including 30-day morbidity and mortality outcomes for major surgical procedures at >450 participating institutions, including urban, rural, academic and community centres across the USA. Although limited by the lack of data on surgical pathology and techniques, this database is specifically designed to accurately capture perioperative complications across a range of surgical centres and is a powerful tool for evaluating outcomes . Therefore, the objectives of the present study were to use the NSQIP database to investigate whether NAC is associated with worse perioperative outcomes and determine the usage of NAC before RC for bladder cancer.
We performed a retrospective review of the NSQIP database from 2005 to 2011. Cases of RC performed for bladder cancer were extracted from the database using International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-9 codes for neoplasm of the bladder (188 and 188.x) and Current Procedural Terminology codes for RC (51570, 51575, 51580, 51585, 51590, 51595, 51596, and 51597). Patients were identified as having received NAC using the preoperative code for chemotherapy ≤30 days of RC. Despite this description in the data dictionary, the period of 30 days was not a strict cut-off as confirmed by the NSQIP Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care (Kristopher Huffman, NSQIP statistician, personal communication). NSQIP data collectors included patients who received chemotherapy administered ≤30 days as well as those administered before 30 days if there was intention for RC (i.e. NAC). A sensitivity analysis was performed by recalculating the proportion of patients receiving NAC after excluding those patients with a preoperative diagnosis of renal insufficiency. According to the National Kidney Foundation's definition for renal insufficiency, patients with an estimated GFR of <60 mL/min/1.73m2 (as defined by the Cockcroft-Gault equation) were deemed ineligible for NAC .
Univariable analyses were used to determine the distributions of preoperative variables. Bivariable analyses were then used to compare 30-day complication and readmission rates between patients who did and did not receive NAC, and describe the patient population in terms of demographic, prognostic, and treatment factors. These factors included age, sex, race, body mass index (BMI), medical co-morbidities, smoking and alcohol history, history of preoperative surgery or blood transfusion, year of operation, presence and training level of resident in operating room, prior radiation therapy, preoperative acute renal failure (defined as a rising creatinine level of >3 mg/dL within 24 h before surgery), preoperative chronic steroid use, and American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) classification. Imputation of missing data was not performed. The chi-square test was used to compare categorical variables. The Mann–Whitney U-test was used to compare non-normal distributions of continuous variables (age and operating time).
Multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to determine whether NAC was an independent predictor for the following outcomes: (i) at least one postoperative complication, (ii) re-operation, (iii) wound/organ space infection, and (iv) wound dehiscence. Generalised linear models were used to evaluate continuous outcomes including operating time and length of hospital stay (LOS). Initial models included the influential predictors from bivariable analysis (defined as those with a P < 0.2). The final models were selected using backwards elimination of non-significant variables (at the 5% level of significance), so that final models included only the necessary variables affecting the relationship between NAC and the outcome of that model. All statistical analyses were performed using SAS v.9.3 (SAS Institute Inc., Cary NC, USA). The University of North Carolina Institutional Review Board exempted this study from review as the NSQIP database contains de-identified data.
In all, 1095 patients underwent RC from 2005 to 2011 at participating NSQIP institutions. Of these, 217 were excluded through use of ICD-9 codes with the following diagnoses: carcinoma in situ (CIS) of the bladder (3.6% of total cases, 18% of excluded cases), rectal cancer (1.6% of total cases, 7.8% of excluded cases), prostate cancer (1.4% of total cases, 6.9% of excluded cases), neurogenic bladder (1.9% of total cases, 9.7% of excluded cases), other neoplasms (4.6% of total cases, 23% of excluded cases), and various miscellaneous diagnoses (6.8% of total cases, 35% of excluded cases). In all, 878 patients underwent RC for non-CIS bladder cancer from 2005 to 2011 at participating institutions, and 78 (8.9%) received NAC before RC. Preoperative serum creatinine was available for 749/800 (94.9%) patients who did not receive NAC, of whom 236 patients (29.5%) had a GFR of <60 mL/min/1.73m2 and were therefore considered ineligible for NAC. Therefore, 642 patients (878 – 236 = 642) were eligible for NAC based on creatinine clearance, assuming that all patients with missing creatinine (41 patients) had a creatinine clearance of ≥60 mL/min/1.73m2. Therefore, 78/642 (12.1%) eligible patients received NAC. As a sensitivity analysis, we also calculated utilization under the assumption that all patients with a missing creatinine had a creatinine clearance of <60 mL/min/1.73m2 and were therefore ineligible. In this scenario, the denominator changes to 642 – 41 = 601, and 78/601 (13.0%) of eligible patients received NAC. Therefore, utilization ranged from 12.1% to 13.0% in this dataset.
Patient characteristics were different between those who did and did not receive NAC in several categories, e.g. age, BMI, year of operation, and others (Table 1). On average, those who received NAC were younger by ≈5 years (P = 0.001), more likely to be overweight or obese (compared with underweight; P = 0.02), and were less likely to be diabetic (P < 0.01). Those who received RC in earlier years (≤2009) were less likely to receive NAC compared with those undergoing surgery in 2010 and 2011 (P < 0.001). Those who received NAC appeared to have longer operating times by ≈45 min (P < 0.01). Finally, while creatinine clearance was higher among those who received NAC, this did not reach statistical significance. Multivariable analysis of NAC as a risk factor for perioperative progressive renal insufficiency or renal failure was not performed due to the few patients with this complication who had received NAC (two patients).
|Patient characteristic||NAC (n = 78)||No NAC (n = 800)||P|
|n (%) or median (IQR)||n (%) or median (IQR)|
|Male||57 (74)||609 (76)|
|Female||20 (26)||190 (24)|
|Age, years||65 (58–73)||70 (62–77)||0.001|
|<18.5||1 (1)||29 (4)|
|18.5 to 24.9||12 (15)||243 (30)|
|25–29.9||35 (45)||279 (35)|
|≥30||30 (38)||249 (31)|
|African American||2 (3)||36 (5)|
|Hispanic||3 (4)||16 (2)|
|White||67 (93)||650 (92)|
|Preoperative creatinine, mg/dL||1.1 (0.9–1.4)||1.0 (0.9–1.3)||0.13|
|Creatinine clearance*, mL/min/1.73m2||76.5 (58.0–95.1)||71.9 (55.6–97.6)||0.44|
|Resident present in operating room:||0.02|
|Yes||62 (82)||475 (69)|
|No||14 (18)||217 (31)|
|Year of operation:||<0.001|
|2005–2009||11 (14)||266 (33)|
|2010–2011||67 (86)||534 (67)|
|Diabetes mellitus treated with oral agents or insulin:||0.007|
|Diabetic treated with insulin||1 (1)||45 (6)|
|Diabetic treated with oral agents||5 (6)||119 (15)|
|Not diabetic||72 (92)||636 (80)|
|Smoker in past year:||0.90|
|Yes||21 (27)||210 (26)|
|No||57 (73)||590 (74)|
|More than two alcoholic drinks in 2 weeks before admission:||0.55|
|Yes||4 (5)||32 (4)|
|No||74 (95)||768 (96)|
|At least partially dependent||1 (1)||20 (3)|
|Independent||77 (99)||780 (98)|
|One or more pulmonary comorbidities†:||0.17|
|Yes||9 (12)||142 (18)|
|No||69 (88)||658 (82)|
|One or more cardiac comorbidities‡:||0.98|
|Yes||12 (15)||124 (16)|
|No||66 (85)||676 (85)|
|Hypertension requiring medication:||0.22|
|Yes||40 (51)||468 (59)|
|No||38 (49)||332 (42)|
|Preoperative acute renal failure:||0.48|
|Yes||1 (1)||6 (1)|
|No||77 (99)||794 (99)|
|No||78 (100)||799 (100)|
|One or more vascular comorbidities§:||0.61|
|Yes||0 (0)||11 (1)|
|No||78 (100)||789 (99)|
|One or more neurological comorbidities¶:||0.30|
|Yes||2 (3)||46 (6)|
|No||76 (97)||754 (94)|
|Steroid use for chronic condition:||0.12|
|Yes||4 (5)||18 (2)|
|No||74 (95)||782 (98)|
|A >10% loss in body weight in the last 6 months:||0.74|
|Yes||3 (4)||27 (3)|
|No||75 (96)||773 (97)|
|Yes||4 (5)||23 (3)|
|No||74 (95)||777 (97)|
|Radiotherapy for malignancy in last 90 days:||0.04|
|Yes||2 (3)||2 (0.3)|
|No||76 (97)||798 (100)|
|Prior operation ≤30 days:||1.00|
|Yes||4 (5)||50 (6)|
|No||74 (95)||748 (94)|
|ASA 1||0||8 (1)|
|ASA 2||26 (33)||202 (25)|
|ASA 3||52 (67)||543 (68)|
|ASA 4||0||47 (6)|
|Transfused >4 units pRBCs in 72 h before RC:||0.03|
|Yes||6 (8)||22 (3)|
|No||72 (92)||778 (97)|
|Operating time, min||366 (277–466)||320 (250–405)||0.007|
Evaluating overall complications, 457 of the 878 patients (52.1%) undergoing RC had at least one complication at ≤30 days of RC, including 43 of 78 patients (55.1%) who received NAC and 414 of 800 patients (51.8%) who did not (Table 2). This difference was not statistically significant on bivariable analysis (P = 0.58). Compared with those patients who were not administered NAC, those receiving NAC had less re-operations (1.3% vs 6.0%), less wound infection (9.0% vs 12.9%), and less wound dehiscence (0% vs 3.0%), although all did not reach statistical significance. On bivariable analysis, patients receiving NAC had a higher rate of bleeding requiring transfusion than those who had not received NAC (38% vs 28%, P = 0.043). However, this difference was no longer statistically significant after adjusting for significant factors on multivariable analysis (P = 0.97). No other specific complications, including UTI (9% vs 9%), sepsis (5% vs 11%) or septic shock (0% vs 4%), respiratory (3% vs 7%), thrombotic (3% vs 6%), cardiovascular (3% vs 2%), or neurological (0% vs 0.6%) complications, were significantly different between those who were administered NAC and those who were not. Readmission rates in 2011, the only year that these data were available, were examined. There was no difference between those patients who received NAC (nine of 45, 20%) and those who did not (66/300, 22%) (P = 0.76).
|Variable||NAC, n (%)||No NAC, n (%)||P|
|Number of patients||78||800|
|Any complication||43 (55.1)||414 (51.8)||0.57|
|Re-operation||1 (1.3)||48 (6.0)||0.11|
|Wound infection||7 (9.0)||103 (12.9)||0.26|
|Wound dehiscence||0||24 (3.0)||0.32|
|UTI||7 (9.0)||72 (9.0)||0.99|
|Respiratory (pneumonia, re-intubation, intubation >48 h)||2 (2.6)||54 (6.8)||0.22|
|Thrombotic (pulmonary embolism, deep venous thrombosis)||2 (2.6)||48 (6.0)||0.30|
|Renal (progressive insufficiency, acute failure)||2 (2.6)||28 (3.5)||1.0|
|Cardiovascular (myocardial infarction, required cardiopulmonary resuscitation)||2 (2.6)||13 (1.6)||0.64|
|Neurologic (stroke/cerebrovascular accident, coma >24 h, peripheral nerve injury)||0||4 (0.6)||1.0|
|Bleeding requiring transfusion||30 (38.5)||414 (51.8)||0.04|
Multivariable logistic regression showed that NAC was not a predictor of postoperative complications, re-operation, wound/organ-space infection or wound dehiscence when adjusting for all significant variables (Table 3). Overall complications were evaluated in Model 1. On bivariable analysis, age (P = 0.02), year of operation (P < 0.001), operating time (P = 0.03), and prior surgery ≤30 days (P = 0.02) were found to be possible influential predictors. When adjusting for these variables in the multivariable model, NAC was not found to be a predictor of overall outcomes (P = 0.87).
|Outcome||Independent variable||Multivariable adjusted odds ratio (95% CI)||P|
|Model 1: any complication||NAC (ref: no NAC)||0.96 (0.57, 1.61)||0.87|
|Age (per 10-year increase)||1.20 (1.03, 1.40)||0.019|
|Year of operation (2005–2009, ref: 2010–2011)||0.47 (0.34, 0.65)||<0.001|
|Operating time (per 1-h increase)||1.09 (1.01, 1.17)||0.035|
|Prior surgery ≤30 days (ref: no surgery)||0.47 (0.26, 0.87)||0.016|
|Model 2: re-operation||NAC (ref: no NAC)||0.24 (0.03, 1.79)||0.16|
|Year of operation (2005–2009, ref: 2010–2011)||2.13 (1.15, 4.0)||0.02|
|More than two alcoholic drinks in the 2 weeks before admission (ref: <2 drinks)||3.20 (1.16, 8.85)||0.03|
|Preoperative acute renal failure (ref: no preoperative acute renal failure)||5.89 (1.04, 33.24)||0.04|
|Model 3: wound/organ space infection*||NAC (ref: no NAC)||0.67 (0.30, 1.49)||0.32|
|Model 4: wound dehiscence||NAC (ref: no NAC)||0.25 (0.02, 3.90)||0.32|
|Male sex (ref: no NAC)||16.51 (1.13, 241.34)||0.04|
|≥1 pulmonary comorbidities (ref: no pulmonary comorbidities)||3.49 (1.50, 8.13)||0.004|
|ASA score 4 (ref: 1)||0.01 (<0.001, 0.31)||0.008|
|ASA score 3 (ref: 1)||0.06 (0.01, 0.35)||0.002|
|ASA score 2 (ref: 1)||0.036 (0.01, 0.25)||0.001|
Models 2–4 evaluated specific complications pertinent to NAC and wound healing. Model 2 evaluated re-operation as an outcome. On bivariable analysis, more than two alcoholic drinks per day in the 2 weeks before surgery (P = 0.02), preoperative acute renal failure (P = 0.04), and year of operation (P = 0.02) were potential significant variables. When adjusting for these factors, NAC was not a predictor of re-operation (P = 0.16). Model 3, which evaluated wound/organ space infections had no significant predictors, and NAC was not associated with a significant difference in infection rate (P = 0.32). In Model 4, wound dehiscence was evaluated as an outcome, and NAC was not found to be a predictor of wound dehiscence (P = 0.32) when adjusting for all significant factors, including male sex (P = 0.04), preoperative pulmonary complications (P = 0.004), and ASA score (P = 0.008).
Additionally, NAC was not shown to be a predictor of longer operating time (363 (NAC) vs 345 min (no NAC); P = 0.24), when adjusting for significant predictors (age, BMI, and resident presence in the operating room). However, NAC was found to independently predict a shorter LOS (9.3 (NAC) vs 11.3 days (no NAC); P = 0.02) than those who did not receive NAC after adjusting for age, race, functional status, year of operation and operating time (Table 4).
|Adjusted mean||Adjusted mean|
|Operating time*, min||363||345||0.24|
The present analysis of the NSQIP database suggests that NAC does not increase complications in patients undergoing RC for bladder cancer and to our knowledge, is the first study to specifically address this question using a robust dataset with standardised and validation methods for collection and reporting complications. Importantly, complications are recorded and maintained by trained NSQIP clinical nurses at each site in a prospective manner using detailed complication definitions. This standardised methodology leads to extremely accurate ascertainment of complications with a discordance rate between institutions of only 1.56% . Additionally, multivariable analysis showed that NAC was not an independent predictor of complication rate, re-operation, wound infection, operating time, or LOS. In fact, patients receiving NAC in the present study had a shorter LOS, although this can probably be attributed to selection bias. Patients who underwent NAC may have been healthier at baseline than those who did not receive NAC.
The use of NAC has been potentially hindered by physicians’ concern for increased postoperative complications after RC in patients with MIBC. There is a paucity of prior data to confirm or refute this presumption. Grossman et al.  reported no difference in incidence or severity of complications in a randomised trial of patients who did or did not receive NAC before RC. However, assessment of postoperative complications was not an objective of the trial, and therefore, the method for capturing and reporting complications was not standardised. For additional trials involving NAC, neither the Nordic Cystectomy I and II randomised trials [14, 15] nor the International Collaboration of Trialists  analysed or reported postoperative complications.
One multi-institutional study reported increased complication rates with NAC. A recently published report on complications of 939 robotic RCs from the International Robotic Cystectomy Consortium (IRCC) database reported that receipt of NAC before robotic RC is an independent predictor of both ‘any complication’ and ‘high-grade complications’ . In all, 16% of patients in that population received NAC. The overall complication rate was comparable to the complication rate in the present study with 41% having at least one complication at 30 days and 48% at 90 days. However, that study differs from our present study in several ways. First, while NSQIP does not include data on whether RC was performed robotically or open, most of the RCs in the USA are performed using an open approach whereas the IRCC study reports exclusively on robotic procedures. Second, the IRCC study does not systematically track complications prospectively, leading to possible bias in reporting. Furthermore, the study tracked complications for 90 days, suggesting that complications related to NAC may occur with increased frequency between 30 and 90 days. Finally, the gastrointestinal tract was the most common site of complication in the IRCC study (27%). These gastrointestinal complications, including ileus, partial small bowel obstruction and small bowel obstruction, are not collected by NSQIP, therefore introducing the possibility of underreporting of complications that are particularly relevant to RC.
The question of postoperative complications aside, preoperative administration of systemic therapy offers numerous advantages [1, 5]. First, the high complication rate after RC with PLND may preclude administration of adjuvant systemic therapy in up to 30% of patients . Patients receiving preoperative chemotherapy are often better able to tolerate higher doses and a greater number of cycles than postoperatively . Second, tumour response to NAC serves as in vivo drug sensitivity testing, to help elucidate tumour biology, and potentially provide prognostic information . Third, NAC may reduce tumour volume to theoretically reduce operative morbidity or convert unresectable disease to an operable tumour burden . Finally, responsiveness to NAC may help guide the adjuvant treatment strategy by identifying ineffective agents that should be avoided postoperatively .
Despite these advantages, numerous barriers to widespread use of NAC exist, including concerns about patient age and comorbidities, the potential toxicity of NAC, presumed lack of benefit in organ-confined disease, patient or physician preference, lack of referral or access to medical oncologists, and concern about treatment delay [20, 21]. The low utilisation rate may be potentiated by the perception of both patients and physicians that the 5–6% overall survival benefit and 16% relative disease-specific mortality risk reduction over 10 years is not substantial enough to warrant systemic therapy. However, the survival benefit of NAC for bladder cancer compares favourably to the survival benefit of other standard of care perioperative systemic therapies in breast and colon cancer, both of which confer a 7% survival benefit .
The morbidity and mortality of the traditional combined NAC regimen, methotrexate, vinblastine, doxorubicin and cisplatin (MVAC), is acceptable yet not unsubstantial and warrants proper patient selection . Up to 56% of patients receiving MVAC have granulocytopenia (33% classified as severe), and 17% have grade 3 gastrointestinal toxicity . These side-effects were self-limiting and have not been shown to decrease patients’ chance of undergoing RC . Reports of mortality from NAC range from <1% [4, 10] to as high as 3–4% . Gemcitabine and cisplatin (GC) combined therapy has emerged as an alternative to MVAC, with a superior toxicity profile resulting in improved patient tolerability, compliance and decreased time to RC . Despite encouraging retrospective data, direct head-to-head prospective trials are needed to confirm equivalent oncological outcomes between GC and MVAC .
NAC is not indicated in patients with renal insufficiency, but exclusion of these patients only partially accounts for low utilisation. Three single-institution reports from large, tertiary care cancer centres suggest that up to 30–40% of patients undergoing RC are ineligible for NAC based on their renal function . Consistent with these reports, 30% of patients were not eligible for NAC based on a GFR of <60 mL/min/1.73m2 in the present study. However, limited population-based data exist on the proportion of patients who are ineligible for NAC based on renal insufficiency, an area that requires future study .
The present analysis of a large, prospectively maintained national database shows that the use of NAC before RC for MIBC in the USA remains low and is consistent with prior studies . Previously reported national utilisation rates suggest that uptake of NAC is slowly increasing, from 1.2% in 1998–2003  to 6% in 2003 and 13% in 2007 . A single tertiary referral centre reported a utilisation rate of 14% in 2012 , and a 2013 report of 939 patients that underwent robotic RC from >20 predominantly tertiary care international institutions reported that 16% received NAC . The present study's utilisation rates of 12–13% are consistent with these data, suggesting that preoperative systemic chemotherapy remains underused in MIBC in a national cross-section of clinical sites.
The present study is limited by several notable factors. The NSQIP dataset lacks pathological data making it impossible to account for the effect of extent of disease on complications or exclude patients who underwent RC for non-MIBC other than CIS, for which NAC is not indicated. The latter could therefore result in an underestimation of the true use of NAC. Other limitations are those inherent to the NSQIP dataset. Data on surgical technique (open vs laparoscopic), whether a PLND or removal of adjacent organs was performed, or type of urinary diversion is not included in the NSQIP dataset. Chemotherapeutic regimen or number of cycles completed is unknown, which could certainly affect outcomes. Furthermore, there are no data about when treatment began and ended. While overall survival does not appear to be affected by the timing of RC after termination of NAC, if surgery is performed between 4 and 12 weeks , anecdotal evidence and consensus opinion support the notion that complications are increased if RC is performed <4 weeks from chemotherapy cessation. Additionally, gastrointestinal complications that are particularly relevant to RC, including ileus, partial small bowel obstruction, and small bowel obstruction, are not included in the NSQIP dataset. As a result, the present study was unable to confirm or refute the findings of Millikan et al.  that showed a higher rate of postoperative ileus in the NAC arm. The validity of the present results would certainly be augmented by inclusion of these variables in the future. Finally, the present dataset does not consider patient and provider preferences, which could affect utilisation rates.
Despite these limitations, the present study provides strong evidence that postoperative complications, operating time, and LOS are not increased in patients that receive NAC before RC for bladder cancer, contradicting a widely held belief that likely hinders appropriate use of multimodal therapy. These findings, combined with well-accepted Level 1 evidence for overall survival benefit for NAC over surgery alone, further validate existing national and international guidelines that recommend the strong consideration of NAC before RC for MIBC. Further efforts are needed to improve physician and patient awareness of the benefits and tolerability of NAC in order to increase utilisation of this multimodal therapy and improve treatment outcomes for MIBC.
The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program and the hospitals participating in the NSQIP are the source of the data used herein; they have not verified and are not responsible for the statistical validity of the data analysis or the conclusions derived by the authors.
The authors declare grants from the University Cancer Research Fund, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and National Institutes of Health through Grants KL2TR001109 and UL1TR001111 during the conduct of this study.
American Society of Anesthesiologists
body mass index
carcinoma in situ
gemcitabine and cisplatin
International Classification of Diseases
International Robotic Cystectomy Consortium
length of hospital stay
muscle-invasive bladder cancer
methotrexate, vinblastine, doxorubicin and cisplatin
American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program
pelvic lymph node dissection