IBCN 2022: Stromal Marker Fibroblast Activation Protein Drives Outcome in T1 Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer

(UroToday.com) Fibroblast activation protein-α (FAP) is a transmembrane peptidase and a surrogate marker for cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). FAP has been linked to worse prognosis and therapy resistance in several cancers. They hypothesised that FAP might have a prognostic biomarker potential to stratify patients with high-grade (HG) T1 non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC).


They selected 30 patients with HG T1 NMIBC that progressed to ≥T2 disease which were pair-matched based on CUETO progression score variables with 90 patients that did not progress. After revision a final cohort of 86 patients was retained. Slides were stained for FAP, the luminal marker GATA3, and the basal marker CK5. All HG T1 tumour regions of interest (ROIs) within each patient were annotated, analysed, and scored using image analysis software.

FAP expression in HG T1 ROIs was significantly higher in progressors vs. nonprogressors and was prognostic for recurrence-free survival, progression-free survival, cancer-specific survival, and overall survival. FAP expression in HG T1 ROIs remained strongly prognostic for these outcomes in a bivariable model corrected for adequate BCG per FDA definition. Expression of GATA3 and CK5 did not differ between progressors vs. non-progressors, and were not prognostic for these outcomes.

In summary, FAP might serve as an easily applicable prognostic biomarker to risk-stratify patients with HG T1 NMIBC if these results are prospectively validated in a larger series.

Presented by: Tim Muilwijk, Leuven, Belgium

Written by: Stephen B. Williams, MD, MBA, MS @SWilliams_MD on Twitter during the International Bladder Cancer Network Annual Meeting, September 28-October 1, 2022, Barcelona, Spain

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