More than 81,000 individuals are diagnosed with bladder cancer in the United States every year, of whom 75% have non-muscle invasive disease.1,2 Unfortunately, half these cases recur despite transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT), and from 5% to 25% of repeated recurrences progress to muscle-invasive disease.3,4,5
Centers of Excellence
The Latest Research on Bladder Cancer
It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the Center of Excellence on Bladder Cancer. “The time is now”. This is an often used phrase in literature, often enough to be considered a cliché. Yet it is exactly this term which applies to the field of bladder cancer research today.
After decades of relative stagnation our field is moving at a dizzying pace toward meaningful improvements in patient care for those suffering from this disease. From better understanding of variant histology, knowledge of the genetic profile of tumors, identification of key signaling pathways, advances in immunotherapy, the adoption of enhanced recover pathways, and more, we now have the tools to make truly meaningful improvements in our patients’ outcomes.
Ashish Kamat, MD, MBBS, is a Professor of Urology and Wayne B. Duddleston Professor of Cancer Research at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Dr. Kamat serves as; President of International Bladder Cancer Group, Co-President of International Bladder Cancer Network, and Associate Cancer Center Director. Dr. Kamat served as the Program Director, of the MD Anderson Urologic Oncology Fellowship from 2005-2016.
From BCG to interferon gene therapy, physicians have treated bladder cancer with immunotherapy for decades. Treatment particulars generally depend on whether bladder cancer is non-muscle invasive, muscle-invasive, or metastatic. About 75% of patients have non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC),1 which is considered high-risk if it consists of non-invasive papillary carcinoma (TaHG), carcinoma in situ (CIS), or T1 (minimally invasive) tumor of the lamina propria.2,3 For high-risk NMIBC, multiple peer-reviewed trials and meta-analyses support 1-3 years of intravesical immunotherapy with bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) to significantly lower the risk of recurrence,4,5,6,7,8 progression, and death.9,10,11
Urothelial cancer (UC), also known as transitional cell carcinoma, is the 5th most common cancer in the United States, and it arises more commonly in the bladder than in other parts of the urinary tract. An estimated 79,030 new cases of UC are expected in 2017. Of these cases, there will be about 12,240 deaths in men and 4630 in women. Bladder cancer accounts for approximately 5% of all new cancers. For the past 30 years, bladder cancer-related mortality had remained unchanged.1,2
Bladder cancer presents an ever increasing health care burden across the globe. The large majority of patients diagnosed with bladder cancer are over the age of 55, with an average age at the time of diagnosis of 73 and an increasing percentage 80 years and older.1 Men are about three to four times more likely to get bladder cancer during their lifetime than women.1