In the Red Journal:
Prospective evaluations of QOL have been lacking in the literature till recently, which is especially important in a trial of organ preservation. If the organ doesn't function properly post preservation - there is little point, and potentially can adversely affect the patient's quality of life. That is often heard as a counter argument for bladder preservation - "Sure you may preserve the bladder, but it is not going to be functional."
The GETUG has done the field a great favor by prospectively looking at this in their bladder preservation trial. Treatment was similar to the US approach - 45Gy with concurrent CDDP + 5FU, reeval with cysto, with cystectomy recommended for residual tumor, and an 18Gy boost for those without evidence of persistent/recurrent tumor. The majority reported good QOL and bladder function, and importantly with results similar to the cystectomy literature for overall survival.
Link and Abstract
Quality of Life Assessment After Concurrent Chemoradiation for Invasive Bladder Cancer: Results of a Multicenter Prospective Study (GETUG 97-015):
"Purpose: To evaluate bladder preservation and functional quality after concurrent chemoradiotherapy for muscle-invasive cancer in 53 patients included in a Phase II trial.Patient and Methods: Pelvic irradiation delivered 45Gy, followed by an 18-Gy boost. Concurrent chemotherapy with cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil by continuous infusion was performed at Weeks 1, 4, and 7 during radiotherapy. Patients initially suitable for surgery were evaluated with macroscopically complete transurethral resection after 45Gy, followed by radical cystectomy in case of incomplete response. The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer quality of life questionnaire QLQ-C30, specific items on bladder function, and the Late Effects in Normal Tissues–Subjective, Objective, Management, and Analytic (LENT-SOMA) symptoms scale were used to evaluate quality of life before treatment and 6, 12, 24, and 36 months after treatment.Results: Median age was 68 years for 51 evaluable patients. Thirty-two percent of patients had T2a tumors, 46% T2b, 16% T3, and 6% T4. A visibly complete transurethral resection was possible in 66%. Median follow-up was 8 years. Bladder was preserved in 67% (95% confidence interval, 52–79%) of patients. Overall survival was 36% (95% confidence interval, 23–49%) at 8 years for all patients, and 45% (28–61%) for the 36 patients suitable for surgery. Satisfactory bladder function, according to LENT-SOMA, was reported for 100% of patients with preserved bladder and locally controlled disease 6–36 months after the beginning of treatment. Satisfactory bladder function was reported for 35% of patients before treatment and for 43%, 57%, and 29%, respectively, at 6, 18, and 36 months.Conclusions: Concurrent chemoradiation therapy allowed bladder preservation with tumor control for 67% patients at 8 years. Quality of life and quality of bladder function were satisfactory for 67% of patients."