Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology

, Volume 145, Issue 6, pp 1625–1633 | Cite as

Intra-arterial chemotherapy combined with intravesical chemotherapy is effective in preventing recurrence in non-muscle invasive bladder cancer

  • Fan Lian
  • Wenchuan Chen
  • Yiming Liu
  • Long Shen
  • Wenzhe Fan
  • Wei Cui
  • Yue Zhao
  • Jiaping Li
  • Yu WangEmail author
Original Article – Clinical Oncology



To evaluate the efficacy and safety of intra-arterial chemotherapy (IAC) combined with intravesical chemotherapy (IC) in non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) and identify the risk factors for recurrence and progression.


This is a retrospective cohort study of NMIBC patients in south China. Ninety-nine patients underwent IAC combined with transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT) and IC, and 50 patients underwent TURBT plus IC without IAC. The 5-year outcomes of the two groups were compared. Cox regression was used to evaluate risk factors. Kaplan–Meier curves were used to assess the significant differences of recurrence-free survival and progression-free survival.


At 5 years, IAC significantly reduced the recurrence of high-grade NMIBC, 54.5% (18/33) in the non-IAC group vs 30.5% (18/59) in the IAC group (p = 0.028). IAC significantly reduced the recurrence of high-risk NMIBC, 56.3% (18/32) in the non-IAC group vs 26.1% (18/69) in the IAC group (p = 0.007). IAC significantly reduced the recurrence of intermediate-risk NMIBC, 44.4% (8/18) in the non-IAC group vs 22.2% (6/27) in the IAC group (p = 0.030). Tumors numbering from 2 to 7 had the highest recurrence rate (18.1%, 27/149). In this aspect, there was a significantly lower recurrence rate in the IAC group (30.8%, 12/30) than in the non-IAC group (68.2%, 15/22) (p = 0.007). No significant difference was found in the progression rate between the two groups. Only two cases (2/99, 2.0%) in the IAC group showed progression. The results of univariate and multivariate analyses suggested that the number of tumors, grade and risk level were risk factors for recurrence. No difference was found with respect to gender, age, tumor diameter, and T category. In the Kaplan–Meier plot, recurrence-free survival was significantly associated with treatment strategies (p < 0.01). Recurrence-free survival was shorter in the non-IAC group (12.73 ± 7.56 months) than in the IAC group (17.88 ± 12.26 months).


Combined IAC is a promising procedure to prevent recurrence and may be useful to suppress progression in NMIBC patients. The independent risk factors for the recurrence of NMIBC were multifocal tumors, grade and risk level. Intra-arterial chemotherapy is an effective and safe procedure and may be a promising choice in areas where BCG is not available or for patients who are intolerant to BCG.


Non-muscle invasive bladder cancer Intra-arterial chemotherapy Recurrence Progression 



The project was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 81102270), Guangdong Natural Science Foundation (no. 2016A030313217) and Guangdong Natural Science Foundation (no. 2016A030313206).

Author contributions

FL, YW, and JL conceived and designed the research; YW and FL prepared the manuscript; LS, WC and WF collected and analyzed the data; YL and WC performed the radiologic evaluation; YL and YZ conducted the statistical analysis. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethics approval

The study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki, and the protocol was approved by the Ethics Committee of the first affiliated hospital of Sun Yat-sen University (permission number: 475109).

Informed consent

All participates were informed and consented to the research before they were enrolled in the study. The authors have obtained consent to publish from the participants.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Rheumatology and Clinical ImmunologyThe First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Interventional OncologyThe First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

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