Dramatic impact of centralization and a multidisciplinary bladder cancer program in reducing mortality: the CABEM project

Fernando Korkes, Frederico Timóteo, Suelen Martins, Matheus Nascimento, Camila Monteiro, José H Santiago, Willy Baccaglini, Marcel A Silveira, Eduardo F Pedroso, Marcello M Gava, Prashant Patel, Phillipe E Spiess, Sidney Glina

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PURPOSE: Muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) is an aggressive disease with a complex treatment. In Brazil, as in most developing countries, data are scarce, but mortality seems exceedingly high. We have created a centralization program involving a multidisciplinary clinic in a region comprising seven municipalities. The aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of a multidisciplinary clinic and a centralization-of-care program (CABEM program) on MIBC treatment in Brazil.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 116 consecutive patients were evaluated. In group 1, 58 patients treated for MIBC before establishing a bladder cancer program from 2011 to 2017 were retrospectively evaluated. Group 2 represented 58 patients treated for MIBC after the implementation of the CABEM centralization program. Age, sex, staging, comorbidity indexes, mortality rates, type of treatment, and perioperative outcomes were compared.

RESULTS: Patients from group 2 versus 1 were older (68 v 64.2 years, P = .02) with a higher body mass index (25.5 v 22.6 kg/m2, P = .017) and had more comorbidities according to both age-adjusted Charlson Comorbidity Index (4.2 v 2.8, P = .0007) and Isbarn index (60.6 v 43.9, P = .0027). Radical cystectomy (RC) was the only treatment modality for patients in group 1, whereas in group 2, there were 31 (53%) RC; three (5%) partial cystectomies; seven (12%) trimodal therapies; 13 (22%) palliative chemotherapies; and three (5%) exclusive transurethral resections of the bladder tumor. No patient in group 1 received neoadjuvant chemotherapy, whereas it was offered to 69% of patients treated with RC. Ninety-day mortality rates were 34.5% versus 5% for groups 1 versus 2 (P < .002). One-year mortality was also lower in group 2.

CONCLUSION: Our data support that a centralization program, a structured bladder clinic associated with protocols, a multidisciplinary team, and inclusion of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments can pleasingly improve outcomes for patients with MIBC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1547-1555
Number of pages9
JournalJCO Global Oncology
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2021


  • Cystectomy/methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Urinary Bladder/pathology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms/drug therapy


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