Our objective is to assess differences in practice patterns and outcomes across 3 regions in bladder cancer patients treated with radical cystectomy under a universal healthcare system.
In total, we included 2287 patients treated with radical cystectomy at 8 Canadian centres from 1998 to 2008. Variables included various clinico-pathologic parameters, recurrence, and death stratified into different regions.
In total, 1105 patients were from the east region (group 1), 601 from the centre region (group 2), and 581 from the west region of Canada (group 3). The median follow-up of groups 1, 2, and 3 was 22.1, 17.1, and 28.6 months, respectively. Although the overall rate of neoadjuvant chemotherapy was low (3.1%), rates were higher in group 2 compared with groups 1 and 3 (p = 0.07). Continent diversions and extended lymphadenectomy were performed in 23.5%, 8.5%, 23.9% and 39.7%, 27.7%, 12.6% across groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively. There were statistically significant differences in gender distribution, performance of lymphadenectomy, presence of concomitant carcinoma in situ and lymphovascular invasion across the 3 groups. There were no differences among the 3 geographical locations in terms of stage, surgical margin status, and use of adjuvant chemotherapy. The mean number of days from the transurethral resection of the bladder tumour to cystectomy was 50, 79, 69 days for groups 1, 2, 3, respectively (p = 0.0006). The 5-year overall survival was 53.6%, 66.8%, and 52.4% for groups 1, 2 and 3, respectively (p < 0.0001).
Significant variations in practice patterns were noted across different geographic regions in a universal healthcare system. Use of continent diversions, extended lymphadenectomy, and neoadjuvant chemotherapy remains low across all 3 regions. Treatment delays are significant.