Monitoring intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guerin treatment of bladder carcinoma with flow cytometry
Carcinoma in Situ
Urinary Bladder Neoplasms
Flow cytometry of bladder irrigation specimens was studied in 22 patients with low stage bladder carcinoma who were treated by transurethral resection of visible tumor followed in 3 to 5 weeks by a course of intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guerin. The most informative examinations were just before the first bacillus Calmette-Guerin treatment, 6 weeks after completing a 6-week course of treatment (3 months) and at 9 months. Of the patients 10 had recurrent tumors after therapy; recurrence was anticipated correctly by flow cytometry at the 12-week followup examination in 6 of the 10 patients and suspected in another. Of 12 patients who remained clinically free of disease for a minimum of 15 months after bacillus Calmette-Guerin therapy flow cytometry identified correctly 7 at 12 weeks, while 1 had a partial response and the remaining 4 reverted to a negative status at 9 months. Of interest, only 4 of the 22 patients were free of disease by flow cytometry at the start of bacillus Calmette-Guerin treatment despite attempted ablation of the tumor by transurethral resection, suggesting that intravesical administration of bacillus Calmette-Guerin destroys existing carcinoma in situ in some cases.