Bladder Cancer Patients Who Smoke Are More Likely to Die Following Surgery

Bladder cancer patients who smoke have worse outcomes following radical cystectomy, according to a study published in The Journal of Urology.

In this study, researchers combed various databases and included 17 studies that reported on the impact of tobacco smoking on chemotherapy response and survival outcomes of 13,777 patients following radical cystectomy. Of the population of interest, over 40% were active smokers at the time of the surgery, 14.1% former smokers and 45.1% had never smoked or were not smoking at the time of the surgery.

According to the results, active smokers responded worse to chemotherapy and had higher mortality rates, both in general and specifically from bladder cancer. The researchers also observed a higher rate of bladder cancer recurrence in smokers juxtaposed to patients who never smoked or were not smoking at the time of surgery.

“This study is important because while it is known that tobacco smoking is the leading cause of bladder cancer, this is the first study to suggest that smoking puts bladder cancer patients at risk after diagnosis,” says Giovanni Cacciamani, MD, lead author of the study and assistant professor of research urology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC via a press release about the study.

Dr. Cacciamani added, “While this study does not answer all the questions, it is an excellent starting point for investigating the association between smoking and long-term oncological outcomes, and will hopefully lead to new protocols that will benefit patients.”