A Potential New Treatment for Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer patients who did not respond to prior treatments saw tumors shrink after using a developing drug

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Some cancers respond better to traditional treatments than others. Bladder cancer patients with a certain form of the disease have not always benefited from those treatments.

A new drug being developed by the pharmaceutical company Genentech eliminated tumors in a clinical trial involving a small group of patients.

Genentech was part of the research team for this trial.

"Ask your doctor about new bladder cancer treatments."

Daniel P. Petrylak, MD, a urologist and professor at Yale Cancer Center and Yale School of Medicine, was the lead author for this preliminary study. Its results were presented May 31 in Chicago at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting.

For this trial, researchers enrolled 68 patients with advanced bladder cancer who had not benefited from other treatments. Of those patients, 84 percent were male. The groups average age was 66, and the youngest patient was 42 and the oldest was 86.

Of the 68 patients, 30 of them had a form of cancer marked by protein PD-L1 that can suppress a person’s immune system.

For this trial, the 68 patients were treated with MPDL3280A — a drug being developed by Genentech that fights PD-L1. Tumors in 43 percent of the patients shrank when they were measured six weeks after treatment with MPDL3280A started. After 12 weeks, 52 percent of patients had smaller tumors, researchers concluded.

In 7 percent of patients, all the tumors disappeared.

For patients without PD-L1, 11 percent experienced a shrinkage in tumors.

Those results potentially, “point to a new era in cancer treatment for a disease that has not seen a major advancement since the introduction of cisplatin-based [chemotherapy] in the 1980s," Dr. Petrylak said, according to a press announcement about the study. "We look forward to opening the Phase II trial at Yale in June to confirm these findings."

This study completed Phase I of this clinical trial.

These preliminary findings were published online by the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

They have not been accepted for publication in a medical journal.

Review Date: 
May 31, 2014
Last Updated:
June 2, 2014