Loading icon
Press enter or spacebar to select a desired language.
Health Information Center

Chemotherapy for Bladder Cancer

  • Michael Jubinville, MPH
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Chemotherapy for Bladder Cancer

Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. The drugs enter the bloodstream and travel through the body. It may be used:

  • Before surgery —to shrink the tumor
  • After surgery—to kill any cancer cells that are left behind
  • With radiation therapy —if surgery cannot be done
  • To help ease symptoms caused by the tumor

Chemotherapy Drugs and How They Are Given

There are many kinds of chemotherapy drugs. The drugs and how they are used will depend on the type of cancer. Bladder cancer may be treated with:

  • Cisplatin
  • Fluorouracil (5-FU)
  • Mitomycin
  • Doxorubicin
  • Gemcitabine
  • Methotrexate
  • Vinblastine
  • Carboplatin
  • Paclitaxel
  • Docetaxel

Chemotherapy is most often given through an IV. It is done in cycles over a set period.

A liquid agent may also be placed right into the bladder. The agent will alert the immune system to attack the cancer.


  • Bladder cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/bladder-cancer . Accessed March 30, 2022.
  • Bladder cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/genitourinary-cancer/bladder-cancer. Accessed March 30, 2022.
  • Bladder cancer treatment. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/bladder/patient/bladder-treatment-pdq. Accessed March 30, 2022.
  • Chemotherapy for bladder cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/bladder-cancer/treating/chemotherapy.html. Accessed March 30, 2022.


  • Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.