For patients whose cancer has spread beyond the bladder to adjacent organs, lymph nodes or bones (known as metastatic bladder cancer), our care team works closely with them to prevent cancer progression, control symptoms and manage pain.

At the University of Chicago Medicine, we use the latest treatments to manage metastatic bladder cancer, including those available through 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 are less toxic and cause fewer side effects. 


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 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 with your medical oncology team to determine if this option is right for you.

Clinical Trials

UChicago Medicine physicians and scientists work side-by-side performing research to discover novel therapies and alternative treatment options for metastatic bladder cancer. We are investigating advanced immunotherapies for metastatic cancer and are researching new, targeted anti-cancer agents that are designed to attack specific abnormalities at the molecular level. Our work includes genomic testing to personalize treatments based on each patient’s distinct genetic make-up and the unique genetic abnormalities present in their cancer.

Learn more about our bladder cancer research and clinical trials.

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