Let’s Keep the Momentum Going

Ashish M. Kamat | May 23, 2019

In 2019, more than 80,000 Americans will be diagnosed with bladder cancer, and more than 17,000 patients will die from it.1 Whether it’s the neighbor we greet each morning, the aunt we joke with at family reunions, or even the face we see each day in the mirror, bladder cancer affects us all. It is a complex, challenging disease, and its prognosis has improved only recently after three decades of relative stagnancy.

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Ashish Kamat

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.

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By Ashish M. Kamat, MD, MBBS

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

By Arjun Balar, MD
Until recently, decades had elapsed with little progress in treating metastatic urothelial cancer (mUC). Cisplatin-based chemotherapy, the best available treatment option, had a median overall survival (OS) of 12-15 months, an overall response rate (ORR) of 50-60%, and was curative in about 10% of cases, but also was associated with potentially serious toxicities.12, 13, 2, 7, 3 
By Petros Grivas, MD, PhD
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.
By Ashish M. Kamat, MD, MBBS and Janet B. Kukreja, MD, MPH,
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
By Badrinath Konety, MD, MBA
Voided urine cytology has been the gold standard for detecting bladder cancer since 1945. Its specificity nears 90%, meaning that a positive result is highly reliable. But cytology is unreliable for detection of low grade tumors such that only about 20% to 30% of low grade bladder tumors are identified using cytology. 
Expert Commentary
Evidence based monographs by experts to define and guide clinical practice
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Bacillus Calmette-Guerin shortage is a critical access issue for patients with non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). Defining the efficacy of alternative intravesical treatments is an active area of investigation.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Understanding differences in bladder cancer outcomes between men and women can help physicians tailor optimal treatment and follow-up strategies.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Patients with muscle-invasive and high-risk non-muscle invasive urothelial carcinoma of bladder who undergo radical cystectomy (RC) and lymphadenectomy are closely monitored for recurrence.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
The optimal treatment for cisplatin-ineligible patients with metastatic urothelial cancer is unknown.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Patients who achieved a pathologic complete response (pCR) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) have a better prognosis compared to patients with pathologic residual disease (pRD).
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Carcinoma in situ (CIS) is a distinct pathological entity. The significance of histological variants associated with CIS is not well-understood.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
The optimal treatment for patients with metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) patients who are unfit to receive the standard cisplatin-based chemotherapy is uncertain.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
FGFR3 mutations are common in urothelial carcinoma. The APOBEC mutational process is the dominant mutational mechanism in bladder cancer.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Non-muscle invasive bladder cancers (NMIBC) represent the majority of new bladder cancer diagnoses. A high recurrence rate characterizes the natural history of the disease.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
The use of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) as an early detection tool is a promising development. However, the clinical utility of ctDNA in urothelial bladder cancer is not fully understood.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
There is a broad spectrum of bladder cancer responsiveness to treatment in the clinic. The development of practical methods to provide accurate, individualized drug sensitivity information from each patient's tumor is needed to improve outcomes.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Detecting muscle-invasion is a critical step that dictates treatment recommendations. A definitive assessment of muscularis propria (MP) invasion cannot be made in a small number of transurethral resections of bladder tumor (TURBTs).
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
A shortage of the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) Connaught strain occurred between 2013-2016. 
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Perioperative chemotherapy is frequently underutilized. Understanding the trends in the utilization of neoadjuvant or adjuvant cisplatin-based chemotherapy in muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) undergoing cystectomy is critical.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
High-resolution micro-ultrasound is a promising technology in the staging of prostate cancer but has not been well studied in bladder cancer patients. A recent paper published by Saita et al.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Defining the genomic landscapes that characterize the different disease states of urothelial carcinoma is an important area of investigation.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
There is not enough data on the prognostic value of sarcopenia and nutritional indices in bladder cancer patients who receive definitive radiotherapy.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
A recent study published by Guo et al. in BMC Systems Biology investigated the relationship between AURKA expression, clinicopathologic characteristics and overall survival in patients with bladder cancer using sequential gene expression profiling.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Micropapillary (MP) is a histological variant of bladder cancer. As with most other histological variants of bladder cancer, the available data is derived from small case series and treatment is based on expert opinion.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Bladder cancer is a ‘field’ disease in which early-events occurring in morphologically-normal urothelium eventually give rise to urothelial carcinoma.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Chromosomal damage, breakage, loss, and rearrangement are early events in cancer initiations.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Frequent long-term monitoring is required for non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) patients due to the high rate of recurrence.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Bladder cancer takes an enormous physical, emotional and economic toll on patients.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by radical cystectomy (RC) with lymph node dissection is the standard of care in patients with muscle-invasive urothelial bladder carcinoma (MIBC).
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Although urothelial carcinomas of the bladder and upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) can have similar histology, they significantly differ in prevalence and risk factors.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) is a distinct clinical entity with poor clinical outcomes.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Immune checkpoints inhibitors (ICIs) are approved as a second line of treatment for metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) patients with progression on cisplatin-based chemotherapy.
Written by Peter Petros DSc, DS, PhD, MD
University of NSW Professorial Dept of Surgery, St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney
This commentary outlines the anatomical basis for surgical cure of OAB as reported by Liedl et al., in a multicentre study (n=611) in the Central European Journal of Urology.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Primary carcinoma in situ (P-CIS) of the bladder is rare. Adjuvant intravesical Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) immunotherapy has been reported to be effective in reducing recurrence rates in CIS and P-CIS patients but the clinical factors associated with the recurrence of P-CIS are not well-defined. 
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer  (MIBC) who are treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) before cystectomy have a survival advantage.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Although hematuria is the most common symptoms of bladder cancer (BC), it can be caused by many non-malignant conditions.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Radical cystectomy (RC) is currently the gold standard operative treatment for localized (T2-T4a) muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) or recurrent high-risk non-MIBC.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Downstaging of muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) following neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) before radical cystectomy (RC) has been correlated with higher survival rates.  
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
To achieve progress against Urinary bladder cancer (UBC), studies are needed to understand to understand the racial differences in the incidence, presentation, outcomes, and biology of UBC.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Lynch Syndrome (LS) is a common hereditary cancer syndrome that is characterized by mutations in the mismatch repair (MMR) genes.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Due to the very high risk of recurrence, bladder cancer patients require periodic screening and monitoring.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) has a high recurrence rate. Although the BCG therapy is recommended as an immune targeting treatment in high-risk NMIBC tumors, the BCG’s role in the eliciting a response by the innate and adaptive immunity is unclear.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Currently, intermediate or high-risk non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer patients (NMIBC) require intensive follow-up.
Written by Zhamshid Okhunov, MD
Department of Urology, University of California, Irvine Urology
Though nephrectomy is the gold standard treatment for renal cell carcinoma, 20%-40% of patients have a recurrence and 20-30% of patients present with metastatic disease1.
Written by Zhamshid Okhunov, MD
Department of Urology, University of California, Irvine Urology
As men get older, starting at the age of 30 years, their testosterone levels decrease by an average of 3.1 to 3.5ng/dL per year.
Written by Zhamshid Okhunov, MD
Department of Urology, University of California, Irvine Urology
Partial nephrectomies are the standard of care with treatment of T1a or T1b tumors due to their better functional outcomes and decrease cardiovascular morbidity.
Written by Zhamshid Okhunov, MD
Department of Urology, University of California, Irvine Urology
Laparoscopic renal surgery (LRS) has long been recognized for its improvements over open renal surgery for patient quality of life.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is a standard of care for patients with cisplatin-eligible muscle-invasive urothelial carcinoma.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Platinum-resistant urothelial carcinoma is a lethal disease. After a long period of therapeutic stagnation, the last two years have witnessed an explosion in the development of new second-line therapies.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is a standard of care for patients with urothelial muscle-invasive bladder cancer.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Bladder preservation therapy is a definitive treatment option for clinically localized bladder cancer.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are cancer cells shed from the tumor that enter the circulation.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Clinically-localized bladder cancer is amenable to local treatments because of its accessibility.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Upper tract urothelial carcinoma is less common than bladder urothelial carcinoma. The biological characteristics of this form of the disease is not completely understood.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Patients with advanced platinum-resistant urothelial carcinoma have limited therapeutic options.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Methotrexate-vinblastine-doxorubicin-cisplatin (MVAC) neoadjuvant chemotherapy is a standard of care for muscle-invasive urothelial bladder cancer.
Written by Bishoy M. Faltas, MD
Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is a standard of care for muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC).
Library Resources
Evidence based monographs by experts to define and guide clinical practice
Written by Noah M. Hahn, MD
Recent years have seen an explosive rate of transformative advances in both pre-clinical and clinical urothelial carcinoma research.  With the public dissemination of comprehensive molecular data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) urothelial carcinoma cohort,
Written by Ashish Kamat, MD, MBBS
For those of us who take care of patients with the sixth most common malignancy in the United States and the seventh most common cause of cancer-related death,it was disheartening that, as recently as 2015, patients with advanced bladder cancer had no effective alternatives to cisplatinum-based chemotherapy, a status quo that had persisted for three decades.2
Written by Justin T. Matulay, MD, and Ashish Kamat, MD, MBBS
Bladder cancer is the most common malignancy of the urinary tract and second only to the prostate in the entire genitourinary system. The most updated available global estimate, based on registry data collected through the year 2012,
Written by Roger Li, MD and Ashish Kamat, MD, MBBS
In the previous sections, we have covered Epidemiology, Diagnosis, and Pathology of Bladder Cancers. As noted, most patients present at a potentially curative stage non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). Although NMIBC can generally be managed...
Written by Justin T. Matulay, MD and Ashish Kamat, MD, MBBS
There are no reliable screening tests available for detecting bladder cancer; hence the diagnosis is usually made based on clinical signs and symptoms. Painless hematuria – microscopic or gross – is the most common presentation...
Conference Coverage
Recent data from conferences worldwide
Presented by Axel S. Merseburger, MD
Barcelona, Spain (UroToday.com) Dr. Axel Merseburger presented the preliminary results of the Safety of Atezolizumab in locally advanced or metastatic UrotheliaL and non-urothelial carcinoma of the urinary tract (SAUL) study at the EAU 2019 Breaking News Session.
Presented by Ricardo Leão, MD
Barcelona, Spain (UroToday.com) Up to 3/4 of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) patients will endure recurrence during their lifetime. Disease follow up is invasive, costly and long and consists of cystoscopy, cytology, and imaging. The most prevalent non-invasive approach for the diagnosis of recurrence remains urinary cytology, 
Presented by Yair Lotan, MD
Barcelona, Spain (UroToday.com) At the urogenital cancer treatment session, Dr. Yair Lotan discussed the impact of blue light flexible cystoscopy and utilization in the clinic setting. Dr. Lotan notes that there are several unmet medical needs with regards to non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). First, it is associated with a high risk of recurrence, with up to 61% of patients recurring in the first year, and up to 78% within 5 years.
Presented by Arlene O. Siefker-Radtke, MD
San Francisco, CA (UroToday.com) Immune checkpoint inhibitors are approved both in the first line and second line for patients with metastatic urothelial carcinoma. In the first line, KEYNOTE 052 showed that pembrolizumab as significant anti-tumor activity for cisplatin ineligible patients with UC1, for a 38% objective response rate for patients with a combined positive score of 10% or more (PD-L1 positive).
Presented by Scott T. Tagawa, MD, MS
San Francisco, CA (UroToday.com) Sacituzumab govitecan (SG) is a humanized antibody-drug conjugate, made from anti-Trop-2 monoclonal antibody linked with SN-38, the active metabolite of irinotecan.Trop-2 is transmembrane glycoprotein encoded by the Tacstd2 gene, and is differentially expressed in a wide range of tumor types, including gastric, pancreatic, triple-negative breast, colonic, prostate, and lung cancer.2
Presented by Yair Lotan, MD
San Francisco, CA (UroToday.com) Dr. Yair Lotan presented on Genomic Insights and Biomarkers for Treatment Selection in Muscle-Invasive and Non-Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer. He discussed the role of markers in bladder cancer and how they add independent information that can impact patient care.
Presented by Ananya Choudhury, MA, Ph.D., MRCP, FRCR
San Francisco, CA (UroToday.com) In this case panel discussion, 3 patient cases were reviewed highlighting important points in the management of bladder cancer. The text below includes a summary of each case presented and key points made by the panelists. The cases detail patients with small cell bladder cancer, upper tract urothelial carcinoma and recurrent NMIBC, respectively. 
Presented by Robert A. Huddart
Toronto, Ontario (UroToday.com) In this discussion, the topic of bladder preservation was presented by Dr. Huddart from the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom. Muscle invasive bladder cancer, after diagnosis using TURBT, is usually treated with radical cystectomy with the option of neoadjuvant chemotherapy before surgery.
Presented by Joaquim Bellmunt, MD
Toronto, Ontario (UroToday.com) In this discussion, Dr. Bellmunt presented the standard of care in second-line management of advanced bladder cancer and gave an update on targeted therapies. He also discussed some of the phase 2 and phase 3 trials with PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors, and associated biomarkers.
Presented by Jeff Holzbeierlein, MD, FACS
San Francisco, CA (UroToday.com)  Dr. Holzbeierlein began his discussion on the new muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) guidelines,a collaborative multi-disciplinary effort led by Dr. Sam Chang that involved input from all the major organizations, including AUA, ASCO, ASTRO, and patient advocates.
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