A Randomized Feasibility Trial Comparing Surveillance Regimens for Patients with Low and Low-Intermediate Risk Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer

Ryan M. Reyes, Emily Rios, Shane Barney, Cory M. Hugen, Joel E. Michalek, Yair Lotan, Edward M. Messing, Robert S. Svatek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Surveillance regimens for non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) are disparate and controlled trials could inform guidelines. The feasibility of randomizing patients to variable frequency surveillance is unknown. OBJECTIVES: To determine patient willingness to randomization to high frequency (HF) versus low frequency (LF) surveillance regimen for NMIBC and compare patient comfort and healthcare costs across regimens. METHODS: A non-blinded, two-arm, randomized-controlled study of patients with low or low-intermediate risk NMIBC was conducted at two institutions where patients were offered randomization to HF vs. LF surveillance following initial tumor resection. The HF group underwent cystoscopy every three months for 2 years, then every 6 months for 2 years, then annually. The LF group underwent cystoscopy at 9 months following the 3-month cystoscopy, then annually. Assuming 75% of patients approached would agree to enrollment, a sample size of n=35 patients per arm provided a one-sided 95% exact Clopper-Pearson confidence lower-limit of 60%. RESULTS: Of 70 patients approached, 45 (64.3%) agreed to participate and 25 (35.7%) declined enrollment due to preference for HF. Twelve biopsies were performed, including 4 (19%) of 21 patients in the HF group and 8 (33.3%) of 24 patients in the LF group. Disease recurrence (low grade Ta) was observed in 3 (14.3%) and 5 (20.8%) patients in the HF and LF groups, respectively. No patients experienced high grade recurrence or progression. Both groups had similar patient-reported procedure-related discomfort and quality of life measures over time. Patient out-of-pocket cost and healthcare systems costs were $383.80 more per patient annually in the HF group. CONCLUSIONS: Randomization to variable frequency surveillance is challenging as over a third of patients declined participation. However, these data provide important preliminary insights into the potential effects of surveillance frequency on oncologic and economic outcomes in patients with low and low-intermediate risk bladder cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-295
Number of pages11
JournalBladder Cancer
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • Bladder cancer
  • quality of life
  • recurrence
  • surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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