Real-world systemic therapy utilization in Medicare patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma diagnosed between 2008 and 2012

Michaela A. Dinan, Mihaela V. Georgieva, Yanhong Li, Tian Zhang, Michael Harrison, Rahul Shenolikar, Charles D. Scales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: Treatment of advanced urothelial carcinoma (UC) remains a challenging clinical entity occurring predominantly in older patients with limited treatment options. However, real-world treatment patterns, differential cancer center access, and association with outcomes is lacking in nationally representative clinical practice and will provide context for emerging therapies. Materials and Methods: We used SEER-Medicare data to identify patients with locally advanced or metastatic UC of the bladder or upper urinary tract diagnosed between 2008 and 2012. We characterized utilization systemic therapy, including first- and second-line chemotherapy. Patients receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy were excluded; results were stratified by academic versus non-academic setting. Results: 3569 patients met study criteria; 48% received some form of chemotherapy within 2 years of diagnosis. Of these, one-third subsequently received second-line chemotherapy. The majority received a regimen including ≥2 agents. Gemcitabine alone or in combination with platinum was the most common first- and second-line treatment. Similar patterns of first- and second-line chemotherapy were observed between patients treated in academic and non-academic centers. Sensitivity analyses of trial-similar patients demonstrated increased utilization (69%). Receipt of platinum doublet as 1st line therapy was less likely in older patients and those with renal disease, and more likely for grade IV disease. Conclusions: Roughly half of all Medicare patients with locally advanced/metastatic UC receive systemic therapy regardless of access to academic cancer centers and despite poor oncologic outcomes. Cytotoxic, gemcitabine-based doublet chemotherapy remains the most common treatment. A substantial population of older patients exists for whom alternative, non-cytotoxic, treatment options may be of benefit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-304
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Geriatric Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • First-line treatment
  • Real-world
  • Second-line treatment
  • Treatment patterns
  • Urothelial carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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