Solid organ recipients have a substantial risk of developing bladder cancer, with high-risk non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) being the most frequent diagnosis. Theoretically, adjuvant bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) therapy is contraindicated, but limited data indicate its feasibility. The objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of BCG following solid organ transplantation.
Materials and methods
We reviewed the data of four solid organ recipients who received adjuvant BCG for high-risk NMIBC at our institution. Additionally, individual data of 12 patients were extracted from case series and case reports, which were identified through a systematic review of the literature. A meta-analysis was performed.
Fourteen patients (88 %) had received a kidney, one a heart, and one a liver transplant. The median time from transplantation to bladder cancer was 60.5 months. The regimen of immunosuppression was not modified in 12 patients (75 %). Forty-two percent of patients did not receive prophylactic antibiotics, and 70 % had no side effects. Ten patients (63 %) experienced recurrence after a median of 14 months. Progression to muscle-invasive or metastatic disease was observed in two patients (13 %). Four patients (25 %) underwent radical cystectomy, and two patients died of the disease.
BCG therapy is a safe option for patients with high-risk NMIBC following solid organ transplantation. However, there is a substantial risk of recurrence and progression. Urologists and patients considering BCG therapy should be aware of this and may consider early cystectomy. There is no evidence to support the need for prophylactic antibiotics.