Important advances in the understanding of the biology and mechanisms of tumor progression of urothelial carcinoma (UC) have been achieved over the past decade. The treatment landscape for advanced-stage, unresectable or metastatic UC has shifted dramatically over a short period of time, with 6 new therapeutic agents available for clinical use. The use of traditional chemotherapy and new immune checkpoints inhibitors (ICIs) directed at programmed cell-death protein 1 (PD-1) or its ligand has led to unprecedented survival benefits in selected patients with metastatic UC. Data show that anti-PD-1 ICIs are not only improving long-term clinical benefit, but also quality of life for patients in the second-line setting. In the front-line setting, regulatory agencies have restricted the indications of atezolizumab and pembrolizumab (both ICIs) to patients with PD-L1positivity with advanced UC and who are platinum-ineligible. Very recently, erdafitinib, a pan-FGFR inhibitor, has been granted accelerated approval by FDA for platinum-pretreated advanced metastatic UC with susceptible FGFR3 or FGFR2 genetic alterations. Enfortumab vedotin, an antibody-drug conjugate, have been granted breakthrough designation by the FDA for the treatment of metastatic UC. Here we review the clinical trial data that have established standard-of-care treatment for advanced-stage UC. In addition, mechanisms of resistance and biomarkers of response to platinum-based chemotherapies and immunotherapies are also discussed, along with the clinical benefits and limitations of these therapies.
Cancer treatment reviews. 2019 Apr 15 [Epub ahead of print]
Rosa Nadal, Joaquim Bellmunt
Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics Branch, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA., IMIM-Hospital del Mar Research Institute, Barcelona, Spain; Harvard Medical School, Boston, MD, USA. Electronic address: .