BACKGROUND Chemoradiotherapy is becoming an alternative to radical cystectomy among patients with bladder carcinoma invading muscle. In 1988, the authors began a protocol with methotrexate, vinblastine, doxorubicin, and cisplatin (M-VAC regimen) and radiotherapy for these patients. Traditionally, age has been considered a determinant factor thereby excluding the older patients from the oncologic protocols that are considered to be more aggressive. The authors analyzed 20 patients (age > 70 years) who were treated during this period with the same protocol as the authors' other patients. METHODS The study included 20 patients (age range, 70-78 years; median age, 74 years) including 4 patients with T2 disease, 9 with T3 disease, and 7 with T4 disease. All patients had a Karnofsky performance status of > 60. Treatment protocol included cytoreductive transurethral resection, 2 cycles of M-VAC chemotherapy, and radiotherapy (45 grays [Gy] on pelvic volume) with concurrent cisplatin (20 mg/m2 on Days 1-5. Response was determined by cystoscopic evaluation. If there was a complete response, radiotherapy continued until a total dose of 65 Gy; if there was not a complete response, cystectomy was performed. RESULTS Tumor response after a dose of 45 Gy included 11 complete responses (55%), 5 partial responses (25%), and 4 nonresponses (20%). Overall survival was 75%, 34%, and 27% in the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th years of follow-up, respectively. Cause specific survival was 79%, 54%, and 38%, respectively. Survival for patients with complete response was 100%, 60%, and 48%, respectively. Severe toxicity was uncommon, with the most frequent toxicities being leukopenia and cystitis. No treatment-related death occurred with either treatment protocol. CONCLUSIONS The age of the individual must not become a strict exclusion criterion for the radical treatment of old patients with invasive bladder carcinoma.