Unwrapping the genomic characteristics of urothelial bladder cancer and successes with immune checkpoint blockade therapy
Authors: Wen Cheng, Dian Fu, Feng Xu, Zhengyu Zhang
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group UK
Urothelial bladder cancer (UBC) is one of the most common lethal cancer worldwide and the 5-year survival rate has not improved significantly with current treatment protocols during the last decade. Intravesical immunotherapy with Bacillus Calmette-Guérin is currently the standard care for non-muscle invasive UBC. Recently, a subset of patients with locally advanced or metastatic UBC have responded to checkpoint blockade immunotherapy against the programmed cell death 1 protein (PD-1) or its ligand (PD-L1) or the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 that releases the inhibition of T cells, the remarkable clinical efficacy on UBC has brought total five checkpoint inhibitors approved by the FDA in the last 2 years, and this is revolutionizing treatment of advanced UBC. We discuss the rationale for immunotherapy in bladder cancer, progress with blocking the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway for UBC treatment, and ongoing clinical trials. We highlight the complexity of the interactions between cancer cells and the immune system, the genomic basis for response to checkpoint blockade immunotherapy, and potential biomarkers for predicting immunotherapeutic response.