Sequential intravesical gemcitabine and docetaxel for the salvage treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer

Ryan L. Steinberg, Lewis J. Thomas, Michael A. O’Donnell, Kenneth G. Nepple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Background: Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) is the most effective intravesical therapy for non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC), but patients can fail or supply shortages can develop. For BCG failures, radical cystectomy is recommended. However, in patients who desire bladder preservation or are poor surgical candidates, alternative salvage intravesical therapies should be explored. Objective: To determine whether dual sequential intravesical gemcitabine and docetaxel is effective in treating NMIBC. Methods: We evaluated our initial experience with 45 patients treated with intravesical gemcitabine and docetaxel between June 2009 and May 2014. Patients were treated with 6 weekly instillations of gemcitabine (1 gram of gemcitabine in 50 ml of sterile water) followed immediately by docetaxel (37.5 mg of docetaxel in 50 mL of saline). Treatment success was defined as no bladder cancer recurrence and no cystectomy. Intention-to-treat analysis was performed using the Kaplan Meier method. Results: Forty-five patients received treatment with a median overall follow-up of 15 months. Median follow up for treatment success was 6 months in all patients and 13 months for responders. Five patients were unable to tolerate a full induction course. Treatment success was 66% at first surveillance, 54% at 1 year, and 34% at 2 years after initiating induction. Ten patients received cystectomy (median of 5.6 months from starting induction) with no positive margins or lymph nodes on final pathology. Conclusions: Sequential dual intravesical gemcitabine and docetaxel can salvage some patients in a challenging NMIBC cohort.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-72
Number of pages8
JournalBladder Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015


  • Bladder
  • Docetaxel
  • Gemcitabine
  • Instillation
  • Salvage therapy
  • Urinary bladder neoplasms


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