Dr. Svatec looks through microscope

Changing the standard of cancer care

Bladder cancer patients who received the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine had significantly lower recurrence of their cancer, a clinical trial has revealed.

The multi-institution trial involved 406 patients with newly diagnosed bladder cancer or low-grade bladder cancer that had not invaded the muscle wall. Those who received gemcitabine-saline treatment directly into the bladder within three hours following surgery had an estimated recurrence rate of 36 percent within four years. There was a 48 percent recurrence rate in the same time frame for those receiving a saline-only treatment.

“This is a huge difference in recurrence rate and demonstrated that gemcitabine is a safe and well-tolerated drug,” said Robert Svatek, M.D., the university’s study leader and a genitourinary oncologist. “We expect this study to change the standard of care.”

There were no significant side effects for patients in the study, and gemcitabine, which is already approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat several types of cancer, is less expensive than many other therapies frequently used in the U.S. 

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