29 Scopus citations


Purpose: Treatment for small-cell carcinoma of the bladder is largely guided by case reports, retrospective reviews, and small prospective trials. This study aimed to study outcomes using a large population-based database. Methods: The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare database (1991-2005) was used to analyze how different treatment combinations of specific bladder surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation affected patient outcomes. Trends in the use of these combinations over time were also analyzed. Results: A total of 533 patients were retrieved from the database. A bladder-sparing approach involving transurethral resection of the bladder tumor (TURBT) combined with chemotherapy and radiation yielded no significant difference in overall survival compared with patients undergoing at least a cystectomy (of whom over 90% received radical cystectomy) with chemotherapy (p > 0.05). The analysis of treatment trends indicated that these two general strategies for cure combined to account for fewer than 20% of patients. A majority of patients (54%) received TURBT as their only surgical treatment, and a subset analysis of these patients indicated that chemotherapy played a role in all stages of disease (p < 0.05) whereas radiation improved overall survival in regional-stage disease (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Relatively few patients with small-cell carcinoma of the bladder receive potentially curative therapies. Chemotherapy should be a major component of treatment. Cystectomy and bladder-sparing approaches represent two viable strategies and deserve further investigation to identify the patients who may benefit from organ preservation or not. In addition, the role of radiation in regional-stage disease should be investigated further, because it positively affects survival after TURBT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-70
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2012


  • Bladder cancer
  • Bladder sparing
  • Chemoradiation
  • Radiation
  • Small cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation
  • Cancer Research


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