OBJECTIVE : To evaluate the prognosis of stage pT3bM0 invasive urothelial bladder tumours treated by cystectomy alone or combined with adjuvant chemotherapy according to the MVAC protocol (methotrexate, vinblastine, adriamycin and cisplatin). MATERIAL AND METHODS : From 1987 to 1996, 90 patients with stage pT3M0 urothelial bladder tumours were treated with isolated cystectomy (n=69) or followed by MVAC chemotherapy (n=21). Lymph node stage was N0 (n=55), N+ (n=29) or Nx (n=6). Essentially selected because of their good general status, patients treated with chemotherapy had a lymph node stage N0 (n=7) or N+ (n=14). Chemotherapy had to be suspended in 2 cases and with a fatal outcome during treatment in 4 cases, due to tumour progression, surgical complication or bone marrow aplasia. RESULTS : 65 deaths have occurred with a follow-up of 2 to 120 months (m=15), including 2 postoperative deaths, 39 cancer deaths and 14 intercurrent deaths. The 1-year, 2-year and 5-year actuarial survival rates were 70%, 48% and 19% for stage N0 and 54%, 25% and 3% for stage N+, respectively, with corresponding median survivals of 20 and 12 months (pCONCLUSION : The prognosis after cystectomy for stage pT3b bladder cancer is severe, especially in the presence of lymph node involvement. Adjuvant chemotherapy according to the MVAC protocol tends to improve survival, especially recurrence-free survival, and appears beneficial at stage N0. However, the value of this adjuvant treatment, which is associated with a high specific morbidity appears to be more relative at stage N+.