Chemotherapy for Advanced Bladder Cancer

Most patients with stage 4 bladder cancer have disease that has already spread and cannot be removed with surgery, so systemic treatment that can kill cancer cells throughout the body is necessary.

Systemic treatment is called chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can also destroy cancer cells that have metastasized to parts of the body away from the original tumor site. Combining two or more chemotherapy agents can be used for treatment of bladder cancer, as this will help to provide a better response overall. Two commonly used chemotherapy regimens are GC and MVAC. GC is the combination of Gemzar® (gemcitabine) and cisplatin. MVAC is the combination of methotrexate, vinblastine, doxorubicin, and cisplatin.

The following chemotherapy drugs have been approved for advanced bladder cancer:

  • Cisplatin
  • Doxorubicin
  • Hydrochloride
  • Gemzar
  • Mitomycin
  • Valstar (Valrubicin)
  • Vinblastine

It is important that every patient have a multidisciplinary treatment team and create a care plan to help them navigate their diagnosis. Radiation, interventional oncology procedures, surgery, and clinical trials may be helpful in addition to chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can also be used in combination with immuno-oncology or immunotherapy.

Sometimes chemotherapy and other treatments can cause side effects. Visit our EASE page to discover helpful hints on how to deal with the possible aftermath of treatment.