Background: This study aimed to determine the clinical benefit of neoadjuvant methotrexate, doxorubicin, vinblastine, and cisplatin (MVAC) in patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) treated with radical cystectomy. Patients and methods: Patients with MIBC (T2-4aN0M0) were randomised to receive two cycles of neoadjuvant MVAC followed by radical cystectomy (NAC arm) or radical cystectomy alone (RC arm). The primary end point was overall survival (OS). Secondary end points were progression-free survival, surgery-related complications, adverse events during chemotherapy, proportion with no residual tumour in the cystectomy specimens, and quality of life. To detect an improvement in 5-year OS from 45% in the RC arm to 57% in the NAC arm with 80% power, 176 events were required per arm. Results: Patients (N = 130) were randomly assigned to the RC arm (N = 66) and the NAC arm (N = 64). The patient registration was terminated before reaching the initially planned number of patients because of slow accrual. At the second interim analysis just after the early stoppage of patient accrual, the Data and Safety Monitoring Committee recommended early publication of the results because the trial did not have enough power to draw a confirmatory conclusion. OS of the NAC arm was better than that of the RC arm, although the difference was not statistically significant [hazard ratio 0.65, multiplicity adjusted 99.99% confidence interval 0.19-2.18, one-sided P = 0.07]. In the NAC arm and the RC arm, 34% and 9% of the patients had pT0, respectively (P < 0.01). In subgroup analyses, OS in almost all subgroups was in favour of NAC. Conclusions: This trial showed a significantly increased pT0 proportion and favourable OS of patients who received neoadjuvant MVAC. NAC with MVAC can still be considered promising as a standard treatment.
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