With a median age at diagnosis of 73 years, bladder cancer has the highest median age of all cancers. Age alone seems to be an independent risk factor for developing the disease with peak age advancing into the range of 85 years. As demographic changes will lead to an ever more aging population in western countries, incidence of advanced age malignancies will rise. We, therefore, analyzed a contemporary radical cystectomy (RC) series at a single high-volume center on patients undergoing RC for urothelial carcinoma of the bladder (UCB). We aim to evaluate the feasibility of RC in the oldest-old patient cohort by assessing perioperative complications and long-term outcome.
We retrospectively analyzed data of 1,278 consecutive patients who underwent RC for UCB at our tertiary referral center between 2004 and 2019. A total of 408 patients were aged 75-97 years at the time of RC and were further divided into 2 groups: 75-84 years of age (group 1) and ≥85 years of age (group 2). Median follow-up was 23 months. Outcome was analyzed using the χ2 test, Mann-Whitney U test, Kaplan-Meier method, and log-rank test.
Perioperative Clavien-Dindo grade ≥III complications were seen in 25.1% (92/366) of group 1 patients and 35.7% (15/42) of group 2 patients (p = 0.073). Thirty- and 90-day mortality was 3.3 and 8.7% in group 1 and 4.8 and 14.3% in group 2 (p = 0.617 and p = 0.242, respectively). Three-year overall survival was 54.6% in group 1 and 31.3% in group 2 (p = 0.03). Three-year cancer-specific survival was 64.8% in group 1 and 38.8% in group 2 (p = 0.037). Recurrence-free survival was 105 months in group 1 and 12 months in group 2 (p = 0.039).
In light of increasing life expectancy in western nations, we sought to evaluate the impact of age in a large series of elderly patients undergoing RC for UCB. We found that RC offers acceptable perioperative complication rates in the oldest-old patient cohort (≥85 years). Therefore, RC for UCB can be offered as a viable treatment option even in the oldest patients.

© 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel.