Chemotherapy for Bladder Cancer

Contact Information

Contact UW Carbone Cancer Center for appointment scheduling, patient referrals and more information: 

(608) 262-5223

(800) 622-8922

The UW Prostate and Genitourinary Cancer Program (UWPGCP) and the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, the state's only comprehensive cancer center, take a multidisciplinary approach to treating bladder cancer.


Chemotherapy and Bladder Cancer


Chemotherapy plays a major role in the treatment of metastatic bladder cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes, lungs, liver and other parts of the body. In patients whose bladder cancer has metastatsized at diagnosis, chemotherapy is the frontline treatment.


For metastatic bladder cancer we use a combination of two drugs: gemcitabine and cisplatinum. This combination is less toxic than MVAC (methotrexate, vinblastine, adriamycin and cisplatin) with similar response rates. Both chemotherapies have an average survival rate of 14 months.


Chemotherapy and Surgery


Chemotherapy is also used in conjunction with surgery for patients who are at high risk for metastasis. Data suggest that bladder tumors that have invaded the muscle wall and have the potential to spread can benefit from chemotherapy before surgery (neoadjuvant therapy).