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14-11-2017 | Bladder cancer | Article

Precision medicine for urothelial bladder cancer: update on tumour genomics and immunotherapy

Kenneth M Felsenstein, Dan Theodorescu


Effective management of advanced urothelial bladder cancer is challenging. New discoveries that improve our understanding of molecular bladder cancer subtypes have revealed numerous potentially targetable genomic alterations and demonstrated the efficacy of treatments that harness the immune system. These findings have begun to change paradigms of bladder cancer therapy. For example, DNA repair pathway mutations in genes such as ERCC2, FANCC, ATM, RB1, and others can predict responses to neoadjuvant platinum-based chemotherapies and to targeted therapies on the basis of mutation status. Furthermore, an increasing number of pan-cancer clinical trials (commonly referred to as basket or umbrella trials) are enrolling patients on the basis of molecular and genetic predictors of response. These studies promise to provide improved insight into the true utility of personalized medicine in the treatment of bladder cancer and many other cancer types. Finally, therapies that modulate immune responses have shown great benefit in many cancer types. Several immune checkpoint inhibitors that target programmed cell death protein 1 (PD1), its ligand PDL1, and cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA4) have already been approved for use in bladder cancer, representing the most important change to the urological oncologist's tool-kit in over a decade. These advances also provide opportunities for personalization of bladder cancer therapy.

​​​​​​​Nat Rev Urol 2017. doi:10.1038/nrurol.2017.179


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