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Long-term effects of bacille Calmette-Guérin perfusion therapy for treatment of transitional cell carcinoma in situ of upper urinary tract.

Urology 2004 June
OBJECTIVES: To report our experience with bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) perfusion therapy for transitional cell carcinoma in situ of the upper urinary tract. BCG perfusion therapy is widely used to treat transitional cell carcinoma in situ of the upper urinary tract. However, it has not yet been established as a standard treatment.

METHODS: Ten patients diagnosed with transitional cell carcinoma in situ of the upper urinary tract were treated with BCG perfusion therapy from January 1990 to May 2002. BCG was instilled weekly for 6 weeks, with a median dose of 65 mg at 1.17 mg/mL (Tokyo 172 strain, dissolved in normal saline).

RESULTS: The mean follow-up period was 50.9 months (range 12 to 134). The initial response to therapy was excellent, and cytology became negative in all patients after one course of BCG perfusion. Five patients developed recurrence after 5, 11, 24, 26, and 45 months, and all died after 46, 12, 41, 134, and 79 months, respectively. The mortality rate was 50% and was 100% in those with recurrence. The mean recurrence-free period was 22.2 months (range 5 to 45). Complications included bladder irritation-related symptoms in all patients, fever greater than 38 degrees C (n = 9), hematuria (n = 2), hydronephrosis (n = 2), and lumbago (n = 1) but all were transient and did not affect long-term prognosis.

CONCLUSIONS: BCG perfusion therapy for carcinoma in situ of the upper urinary tract is safe, and the short-term response is excellent. However, the long-term results were not satisfactory. Therefore, this therapy should be considered experimental, although it may have potential benefits in delaying progression and possibly providing local control for patients in poor condition. Long-term studies are required for additional evaluation of BCG therapy.

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