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Organ preservation in muscle-invasive urothelial bladder cancer.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The most common definitive treatment for muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) is radical cystectomy. However, removing the bladder and surrounding organs poses risks of morbidity that can reduce quality of life, and raises the risk of death. Treatment strategies that preserve the organs can manage the local tumor and mitigate the risk of distant metastasis. Recent data have demonstrated promising outcomes in several bladder-preservation strategies.

RECENT FINDINGS: Bladder preservation with trimodality therapy (TMT), combining maximal transurethral resection of the bladder tumor, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy (RT), was often reserved for nonsurgical candidates for radical cystectomy. Recent meta-analyses show that outcomes of TMT and radical cystectomy are similar. More recent bladder-preservation approaches include combining targeted RT (MRI) and immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), ICIs and chemotherapy, and selecting patients based on genomic biomarkers and clinical response to systemic therapies. These are all promising strategies that may circumvent the need for radical cystectomy.

SUMMARY: MIBC is an aggressive disease with a high rate of systemic progression. Current management includes neoadjuvant cisplatin-based chemotherapy and radical cystectomy with lymph node dissection. Novel alternative strategies, including TMT approaches, combinations with RT, chemotherapy, and/or ICIs, and genomic biomarkers, are in development to further advance bladder-preservation options for patients with MIBC.

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