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Patient-reported outcomes in non-muscle invasive bladder cancer: a mixed-methods systematic review

Quality of Life Research
Claudia Rutherford, Manish I. Patel, Margaret-Ann Tait, David P. Smith, Daniel S. J. Costa, Shomik Sengupta, Madeleine T. King
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11136-020-02637-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) is a chronic condition requiring repeated treatment and endoscopic examinations that can occur life-long. In this context, patient-reported outcomes (PROs) are important considerations to patients and managing clinicians. We undertook a systematic review to synthesise PRO results relevant to NMIBC treatment to explore trajectories overtime and differences between treatment options.


We searched databases AMED, MEDLINE, EMbase, PsycINFO, Web of Knowledge and Scopus (inception to 5th December 2019), reference lists and contacted key authors to identify studies that reported PROs after NMIBC treatment. Two reviewers independently applied inclusion and quality criteria and extracted findings. Results for PROs were synthesised for treatment groups across three time periods: acute/during induction therapy; during maintenance therapy; and long-term follow-up (> 1 year).


Of 3193 papers screened, 29 were eligible. These provided evidence about induction treatment effects, but few reported maintenance or long-term evidence, and evidence about differences between NMIBC treatment options was lacking. A range of symptoms (pain in bladder area, urinary frequency and urgency, pain or burning during urination) were commonly experienced during and soon after treatment for NMIBC. Less common symptoms included fatigue, disrupted sleep and gastrointestinal problems.


Treatments for NMIBC can cause symptoms and functional impairment during the acute treatment phase and reduce quality of life. Clinicians should be aware of these impairments to prepare patients for short-term sequelae and enable those with treatment options to exercise preferences in choosing among them. However, gaps in current evidence limit our understanding of PRO trajectories from diagnosis through to long-term survivorship and treatment effects.

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