Patients with a rare form of bladder cancer may not benefit from radiation therapy, according to a study presented at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Urology Association.

“While this malignancy afflicts just 1% to 2% of people diagnosed with bladder cancer, chances of surviving it for 5 years are grim – only 18% – in part because it is usually detected at an advanced stage,” explained Naveen Pokala, MD, a urologist at Henry Ford Hospital. “By the time the primary cancer is found, it may already have penetrated all four walls of the bladder and spread to adjacent organs and beyond, including the peritoneum, lymph nodes, and lungs.”

The study, led by researchers at Henry Ford Hospital, involved more than 850 patients with adenocarcinoma of the bladder. Among the group, 96 patients had a partial cystectomy; 164 had a total cystectomy, 375 had an endoscopy procedure, and 202 had an unspecified surgery. The researchers treated only some of the patients with radiation therapy.

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The findings revealed that the overall survival rate was poor for patients treated with radiation therapy. However, while radiation therapy did not improve survival, the study revealed that being  60 years or older and having cystectomy are factors that may improve prognosis.