We evaluated 104 patients with superficial bladder tumors for response to intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guerin therapy. Patients received 6 weekly intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guerin instillations and they were followed for reponse every 3 months with urinary cytology, cytoscopy and bladder biopsy. Patients were considered treatment failures if either the cytology studies or biopsies were positive for tumor. Of 65 patients who failed the initial treatment course 57 were given an additional 6-week course of therapy. One 6-week course of bacillus Calmette-Guerin was successful in 20 of 55 patients (36 per cent) treated for prophylaxis, 12 of 32 (37 per cent) treated for carcinoma in situ and 7 of 17 (41 per cent) treated for residual tumor. The response rate for the total patient population treated with 1, 6-week course was 37.5 per cent (39 of 104). A second 6-week course was successful in 19 of 29 patients (65 per cent) treated for prophylaxis, 11 of 18 (71 per cent) treated for carcinoma in situ and 4 of 10 (40 per cent) treated for residual tumor. The response rate for all patients receiving a second course of bacillus Calmette-Guerin was 59.6 per cent (34 of 57). Of 6 patients who refused another 6-week course of bacillus Calmette-Guerin 4 had additional recurrences and 3 of these 4 suffered invasive disease. The over-all therapeutic response rate for patients treated with either 6 or 12 weeks of therapy was 70 per cent. These results suggest that 6 weeks of intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guerin do not provide optimal therapy for superficial bladder tumors. The data further suggest that more intensive regimens may increase therapeutic efficacy.
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