CISTO: Comparison of Intravesical Therapy and Surgery as Treatment Options for Bladder Cancer (CISTO)

  • End date
    Jan 31, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Washington
Updated on 22 October 2022
bladder cancer
invasive bladder cancer
transitional cell carcinoma
bladder tumor
bcg vaccine
urinary tract cancer


Bladder cancer is the most common urinary tract cancer and the 5th most common cancer in the US (1). Yet bladder cancer research is underfunded relative to other common cancers. As a result, bladder cancer care is prone to evidence gaps that produce decision uncertainty for both patients and clinicians. The Comparison of Intravesical Therapy and Surgery as Treatment Options (CISTO) for Bladder Cancer Study has the potential to fill these critical evidence gaps, change care pathways for the management of NMIBC (non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer), and provide for personalized, patient-centered care. The purpose of CISTO is to conduct a large prospective study that directly compares the impact of medical management versus bladder removal in recurrent high-grade NMIBC patients with BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) failure on clinical outcomes and patient and caregiver experience using standardized patient-reported outcomes (PROs).


Most bladder cancer patients (74%) present with NMIBC where the cancer is limited to the lining or support layer of the bladder. High-grade NMIBC is treated initially with endoscopic resection and intravesical immunotherapy, followed by bladder instillations of BCG. Most patients with high-risk, high-grade NMIBC are able to retain their bladders and avoid more invasive treatments. However, 24-61% of patients will have their cancers recur within 12 months of treatment with BCG (BCG failures), and they have limited treatment options. National guidelines recommend consideration between two alternatives: additional medical management and radical cystectomy (removal of the bladder). Selecting between these options involves weighing the risk of progression of bladder cancer and loss of a window of potential cure versus the risk of morbidity and loss of quality of life (QOL) with bladder removal. This complex decision-making engages patients and their caregivers, who may be impacted by the urinary, sexual, and bowel dysfunctions that can occur with NMIBC treatment.

The investigators will evaluate this research question on a large scale in real world practice settings including academic and community-based practices and examine patient-centered outcomes. The investigators have engaged stakeholders with diverse perspectives relevant to this research question, including patients, caregivers, national patient advocacy organizations, national medical specialty organizations, guideline developers, health care payers, and industry. By engaging broad expertise relevant to this research question, the investigators will ensure that the study results will help NMIBC patients whose cancer recurs after BCG treatment make more informed decisions that improve the health outcomes that are important to them.

CISTO is an observational study that will not affect the treatment that patients chose. Patient surveys will occur at study entry and at follow-up assessments for up to four years. There will also be a qualitative sub-study that will include interviews of approximately 50 patients and 25 caregivers recruited from the observational cohort study.

Condition Bladder Cancer, Cancer of the Bladder, Recurrent, Non-muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03933826
SponsorUniversity of Washington
Last Modified on22 October 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Adult 18 years of age or older; and
Presenting with high-grade NMIBC established by anatomic pathology as tumor stage classification Tis, Ta, or T1, and with
Pathology documentation from any hospital/clinic/medical center, and
More than 50% urothelial carcinoma component in the specimen
History of high-grade NMIBC established by anatomic pathology as tumor stage
classification Tis, Ta, or T1; and
Attempted or received induction BCG (at least 3 out of 6 instillations) at any point in time; and
In the previous 12 months, received at least one instillation of any intravesical agent (induction or maintenance) or one administration of systemic therapy for NMIBC treatment

Exclusion Criteria

Unable to provide written informed consent in English
Unable to be contacted for research surveys
Any plasmacytoid or small cell (neuroendocrine) component in the pathology (past or current presentation)
Previous history of cystectomy or radiation therapy for bladder cancer
Previous history of muscle-invasive bladder cancer or metastatic bladder cancer
Any history of upper tract urothelial carcinoma
Incarcerated in a detention facility or in police custody (patients wearing a monitoring device can be enrolled) at baseline/screening
Contraindication to radical cystectomy (e.g., ASA of 4)
Contraindication to medical therapy (i.e., intolerant of all medical therapies)
Planning to participate in a Phase I or Phase II interventional clinical trial for NMIBC or any blinded interventional trial for NMIBC
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