IBCN 2020: Annual Meeting Highlights and Take-Home Messages

(UroToday.com) The International Bladder Cancer Network (IBCN) concluded its annual meeting.  The board members and meeting organizers should be commended for their efforts on an incredibly informative and engaging virtual meeting featuring over 350 registered attendees and patient advocates.  A record number of abstracts were submitted internationally.

Several themes were notable throughout the research sessions.  Several investigators performed whole-genome and exome sequencing to characterize germline mutations as having a diagnostic, predictive, and prognostic benefit in urothelial cancers.  These germline SNPs and other variants have tremendous clinical promise in the realm of liquid biopsy to guide surgical management and systemic therapy.  Two groups presented data on novel recombinant Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) strains as intravesical treatment for non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC).  Dr. Alok Singh from Johns Hopkins presented results on efficacy in a preclinical rat model.  The investigators concluded that recombinant (rBCG) increased proinflammatory cytokines and enhanced CD4+ T-cell-mediated antitumor efficacy compared to wildtype BCG.  Dr. Cyrill Rentsch from the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland presented data from a phase I/II study of recombinant BCG (VPM1002BC) in NMIBC patients who recurred after wildtype BCG.  The intravesical therapy was generally well-tolerated, and nearly half of patients at 60 weeks were recurrence-free.

The meeting was highlighted by plenary discussions from Dr. Francois Radvanyi, Professor at the Institut Curie in Paris, France, and Dr. Dan Theodorescu, Professor at Cedars-Sinai Health Center in Los Angeles, California.  Dr. Radvanyi presented the preclinical account of FGFR3 mutations in urothelial cancers.  Dr. Radvanyi described the seminal data on the generation of mouse models with activating mutations in FGFR3, and the sequelae of early small molecular inhibitors of this pathway.  The role of these mutations in luminal subtypes is becoming defined, but with FDA approval of systemic FGF-targeted therapies, further work will define their therapeutic benefit in other molecular subtypes and in patients without know FGFR mutations.

Dr. Theodorescu presented the keynote lecture on improving checkpoint inhibitor therapy.  He highlighted the disparate outcome of advanced urothelial carcinoma after the failure of available systemic options.  Dr. Theodorescu presented his group’s work utilizing functional genomics to create rational combinations of both cytotoxic chemotherapeutic drugs as well as immunotherapies and preclinical small molecular inhibitors. 

The next Annual IBCN meeting will be held in October 2021 in Montreal, Canada.

Written by: Dr. Patrick Hensley, Urologic Oncology Fellow at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Twitter: @pjhensley11, with Ashish Kamat, MD, MBBS, President of The International Bladder Cancer Network (IBCN), The International Bladder Cancer Group (IBCG), and Professor of the Department of Urology, Division of Surgery, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, Twitter: @UroDocAsh, at the International Bladder Cancer Network (IBCN) Annual Meeting, #IBCN2020, October 17, 2020.

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