Objectives To assess, in a Phase I study, whether bladder preservation with concurrent gemcitabine and radiotherapy (RT) influenced patient-reported quality of life (QOL) as determined by the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Bladder (FACT-BL). Methods Between January 1998 and March 2002, 24 patients with urothelial carcinoma of the bladder were enrolled, and 23 patients underwent transuretheral resection of bladder tumor, followed by twice-weekly gemcitabine with concurrent RT. The initial dose was 10 mg/m2 given twice weekly and increased as tolerated. To assess treatment-related QOL, patients completed the FACT-BL questionnaire. Results Of the 24 patients enrolled, 23 (96%) were assessed for toxicity and response. The FACT-generic (G) QOL assessment was obtained from 22 (92%) of 23 patients. No statistically significant difference was found in the FACT-G or FACT-BL or the combination before, during, or after treatment. The FACT-BL values were lower in patients who received higher doses of gemcitabine (greater than 20 mg/m2 versus 20 mg/m2 or less). At least one dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) was experienced by 5 (23%) of 22 patients. The FACT-G values were lower for those patients who experienced DLT (difference of -13.1, P = 0.07). The physical well-being scores for patients who experienced DLT were lower after treatment (difference of -5.2, P = 0.03) compared with those without DLT. Conclusions Concurrent RT and gemcitabine failed to statistically influence patient-reported QOL, although patients who received higher doses reported lower FACT-BL scores. The results of this study suggest that concurrent gemcitabine with conformal RT is a tolerable treatment regimen for bladder preservation, as demonstrated by the excellent treatment compliance and similar FACT measurements.
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