Current therapeutic strategies for invasive and metastatic bladder cancer
Prakash Vishnu, Jacob Mathew, Winston W Tan
Division of Hematology Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL, USA
Background: Bladder cancer is one of the most common cancers in Europe, the United States, and Northern African countries. Muscle-invasive bladder cancer is an aggressive epithelial tumor, with a high rate of early systemic dissemination. Superficial, noninvasive bladder cancer can most often be cured; a good proportion of invasive cases can also be cured by a combined modality approach of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Recurrences are common and mostly manifest as metastatic disease. Those with distant metastatic disease can sometime achieve partial or complete remission with combination chemotherapy.
Recent developments: Better understanding of the biology of the disease has led to the incorporation of molecular and genetic features along with factors such as tumor grade, lympho-vascular invasion, and aberrant histology, thereby allowing identification of ‘favorable’ and ‘unfavorable’ cancers which helps a more accurate informed and objective selection of patients who would benefit from neoadjuvant and adjuvant chemotherapy. Gene expression profiling has been used to find molecular signature patterns that can potentially be predictive of drug sensitivity and metastasis. Understanding the molecular pathways of invasive bladder cancer has led to clinical investigation of several targeted therapeutics such as anti-angiogenics, mTOR inhibitors, and anti-EGFR agents.
Conclusion: With improvements in the understanding of the biology of bladder cancer, clinical trials studying novel and targeted agents alone or in combination with chemotherapy have increased the armamentarium for the treatment of bladder cancer. Although the novel biomarkers and gene expression profiles have been shown to provide important predictive and prognostic information and are anticipated to be incorporated in clinical decision-making, their exact utility and relevance calls for a larger prospective validation.
Keywords: bladder cancer, chemotherapy, biologic therapy, neoadjuvant, PI3kinase/mTOR pathway
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