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Treatment Options for Metastatic Bladder Cancer

In many cases, bladder cancer is diagnosed and treated in its early stages, before invading the muscle, or when it is still confined to the bladder. For patients whose cancer has spread beyond the bladder to adjacent organs, lymph nodes or bones, our bladder cancer team works closely with them to prevent cancer progression, control symptoms and manage pain.

We use the latest treatments to manage metastatic bladder cancer, including novel treatments available through our clinical trials.


Combination chemotherapy, the use of multiple chemotherapy agents, is the ideal, first-line treatment for patients with metastatic bladder cancer. Bladder cancer is said to be "chemo-sensitive" and responds well to the drugs. Chemotherapy is used to slow progression, control symptoms, inhibit growth and prolong survival. Additionally, newer chemotherapy drugs offer less toxicity and fewer side effects for patients undergoing treatment.


Immunotherapy is a rapidly emerging option for patients with metastatic disease. Newer immunotherapy treatments and research are exploring bladder cancer therapies designed to trigger the immune system to fight against the cancer

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy, applying high-energy x-ray radiation to tumors, can be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy for symptom control and pain management. Our highly skilled radiation oncologists administer radiation therapy, and will work your medical oncology team to decide if this option is right for you.

Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials

Our clinicians are working side-by-side with researchers at the University of Chicago Medicine performing revolutionary research in order to provide novel therapies and alternative treatment options for metastatic bladder cancer. We are investigating the use of immunotherapies for metastatic cancer and researching new, targeted anti-cancer agents that are designed to attack specific molecular abnormalities. Our work also includes the incorporation of genomic testing for precision medicine and personalized treatments based on each patient’s distinct genetic make up and the unique genetic abnormalities present in their caner. Our dedication to finding therapies that improve outcomes and the quality of life for our patients is constantly driving us towards innovation. Learn more about our bladder cancer research and clinical trials.