Ensuring Successful Biomarker Studies in Bladder Preservation Clinical Trials for Non-muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer


Over the past five years, there has been a change in the way biomarker studies are incorporated into NCTN clinical trials. The scientific community recognizes that tissues collected within the context of NCTN trials are a unique resource for phenotype and genotype studies and thus a public resource that should be reserved for the most robust and impactful downstream analyses. Therefore, it is now recommended that tissues and blood collected from participants in large Phase 3 and FDA registration studies be banked until the trials have achieved at least 75% accrual, and a rigorous peer review process should be in place to vet proposals for the use of these valuable patient samples [1–3]. 

Efficacy of Antibody Drug Conjugates Alone and in Combination with other Agents in Metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma: A Scoping Review


INTRODUCTION: Antibody drug conjugates represent a promising class of antineoplastic agents comprised of a monoclonal antibody linked to a potent cytotoxic payload for targeted delivery of chemotherapy to tumors. Various antibody drug conjugates have demonstrated impressive efficacy in patients with metastatic urothelial carcinoma in clinical trials, leading to two FDA approved therapies and several other agents and combinations in clinical development.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A comprehensive systematic review was undertaken utilizing the principles of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement. Queried databases included Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, Web of Science Core Collection and Cochrane CENTRAL Trials. The search sought to identify prospective therapeutic clinical trials in humans with metastatic urothelial carcinoma with a single-arm or randomized controlled trial design investigating antibody drug conjugate-containing regimens.

RESULTS: The literature search yielded 4,929 non-duplicated articles, of which 30 manuscripts and conference abstracts were included, which derived from 15 clinical trials including 19 separate cohorts with efficacy outcome results. Eleven trials investigated ADC monotherapy, while two investigated combination regimens, and the remaining two studies were mixed. Five unique ADC targets were represented including Nectin-4, Trop-2, HER2, Tissue Factor, and SLITRK6. Twelve clinical trial cohorts required prior treatment (63%). Objective response rate was reported for all studies and ranged from 27–52% for ADC monotherapies and 34–75% for ADC plus anti-PD-1 agents. Time to event outcome reporting was highly variable.

CONCLUSION: In addition to enfortumab vedotin and sacituzumab govitecan, various HER2-targeted antibody drug conjugates and ADC-anti-PD-1 combination regimens have demonstrated efficacy in clinical trials and are poised for clinical advancement.

Potential of an mRNA-Based Urine Assay (Xpert® Bladder Cancer Detection1) in Hematuria Patients – Results from a Cohort Study


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Assessment of patients with hematuria (aH) remains a challenge in urological practice, balancing the benefits of diagnosing a potentially underlying bladder cancer (UCa) against the risks of possibly unnecessary diagnostic interventions. This study analyzes the potential of an mRNA-based urine assay, the Xpert® Bladder Cancer Detection- CE-IVD (Xpert BC-D), in patients with hematuria.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Overall, 368 patients with newly observed painless hematuria and no history of UCa were included in this observational study. Patients received urological workup, including urethrocystoscopy (WLC), upper tract imaging, urine cytology and Xpert BC-D. Patients with positive WLC were recommended to undergo tumor resection (TUR-B).

RESULTS: After excluding non-assessable cases, 324 patients were considered for analysis (188 males, 136 females; median age: 61 years). Eight of twenty-eight patients with a positive TUR-B had Ta low grade (LG) tumors; the others were diagnosed with high grade (HG) lesions (Ta: 4, CIS: 2, T1:11, > T1:3). The Xpert BC-D was more sensitive than urine cytology (96% vs. 61%) (p = 0.002). Increased risk ratios (RR) were observed for gross hematuria, gender, urine cytology, and positive Xpert BC-D (all p < 0.05). Age and positive Xpert BC-D remained independent predictors of UCa in multivariate analysis. Simulating a triage with WLC restricted to patients with positive Xpert BC-D could have saved 240 (74.1%) assessments at the cost of missing one pTa LG tumor.

CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest a potential role for Xpert BC-D in preselecting patients with hematuria for either further invasive diagnosis or an alternate diagnostic procedure.

Effect of Bacille Calmette-Guérin for Non–Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer After Prostate Radiotherapy


BACKGROUND: Advanced urothelial carcinoma (UC) is an aggressive disease whose mutagenic processes are yet to be elucidated. Targeted therapies are urgently needed, but the road from bench to bedside is slowly progressing. In this review, we discuss urothelial carcinoma etiology, along with the most recent advances in UC candidate targeted therapies.

METHODOLOGY: A comprehensive database search was performed. We aimed to review the most recent updates on UC genomics and targeted therapies. Pre-clinical as well as clinical studies were included.

RESULTS: Our review highlights the advances in understanding the molecular basis of urothelial tumorigenesis, including smoking, chemical parasitic carcinogens, inheritance, and APOBEC3 editing enzymes. We discussed how these factors contributed to the current mutational landscape of UC. Therapeutic options for UC are still very limited. However, several promising therapeutic approaches are in development to leverage our knowledge of molecular targets, such as targeting fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFR), DNA damage repair pathways, and HER2.

CONCLUSIONS: Blindly testing targeted therapies based on other cancer data is not sufficient. UC-specific biomarkers are needed to precisely use the appropriate drug for the appropriate population. More efforts to understand UC biology and evolution are urgently needed.

Evaluation of the Effects of Opium on the Expression of SOX2, and OCT4 in Wistar Rat Bladder


BACKGROUND: Bladder cancer is a malignancy greatly affected by behavioral habits. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of opium on changes in the expression of OCT4 and SOX2 in the bladder tissue of rats.

METHOD: Thirty six rats were divided into six groups: 24 rats in the addicted group received morphine and opium for 4 months with 12 rats in the control group. Blood testing was done for the evaluation of CBC, MDA, and TAC. The bladder tissue was removed and checked by histopathological examination. All total RNA was extracted, then cDNAs were synthesized and the OCT4 and SOX2 gene expressions were evaluated by Real-time PCR.

RESULTS: The OCT4 mRNA expression level in the opium group of rats was significantly increased compared to the control group (13.5 and 6.8 fold in males and females respectively). Also, in the morphine group, similar augmentation was detected (3.8 and 6.7 fold in males and females respectively). The SOX2 mRNA over-expression level was seen in the morphine group of both genders as compared to the control group (3.7 and 4.2 fold in male and female respectively) but in the opium group, enhancement of mRNA level was seen only in males (6.6 fold). Opium increases both OCT4 and SOX2 expression more than morphine in male rats, but in female rats, SOX2 is increased more by morphine.

CONCLUSION: Over expression of OCT4 and SOX2 was observed in rats treated with opium and morphine. Increased OCT4 and SOX2 expression was seen in opium-treated male rats, but in female rats, SOX2 was increased more by morphine.

Patterns of Smoking Cessation Strategies and Perception of E-cigarette Harm Among Bladder Cancer Survivors1


BACKGROUND: Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of bladder cancer (BC). Some proponents of e-cigarettes describe their use as a risk mitigation strategy despite potential carcinogen exposure and uncertain long-term risks.

OBJECTIVE: We assessed smoking cessation strategies, including e-cigarette use, and harm perception among patients with BC.

METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional study on a convenience sample of patients with BC at a single institution from August 2021 –October 2022. The survey instrument was sourced from the Cancer Patient Tobacco Use Questionnaire (C-TUQ) from the American Association for Cancer Research with standardized questions on tobacco use, cessation questions, and e-cigarette harm perceptions.

RESULTS: Of the 104 surveyed BC patients (mean age: 72 years; 27% female; 55% with muscle-invasive disease), 20% were current smokers (median pack years: 40) and 51% were former smokers (median pack years: 20). A minority (9%) had quit smoking at the time of diagnosis. Pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation included nicotine patches (25%), gum (21%), lozenges (8%), e-cigarettes (8%), and Varenicline/Bupropion (4%). Notably, 43% of patients who continued to smoke expressed willingness to switch to e-cigarettes as a cessation aid. E-cigarette users (11%) more commonly perceived e-cigarettes as non-harmful compared to former (4%) and non-smokers (4%) (P = .048), though all groups regarded e-cigarettes as equally addictive as traditional cigarettes.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite the prevalence of BC survivors who continue to smoke, a significant proportion perceive e-cigarettes as a viable and less harmful cessation aid. The infrequent use of FDA-approved pharmacotherapies underscores potential implementation gaps. These findings highlight the need for further research and targeted interventions in addressing smoking cessation among BC survivors.

Noninvasive Tests for Bladder Cancer Detection and Surveillance: A Systematic Review of Commercially Available Assays


BACKGROUND: An important reason for the high health care costs associated with bladder cancer is the need for frequent cystoscopy for detection and surveillance of this disease. Cytologic analysis of voided urine specimens can assist, but is too inaccurate to replace cystoscopy. In an effort to create reliable, objective, noninvasive mechanisms for detecting bladder cancer, a number of urine-based molecular tests have been developed with the ultimate goal of reducing the frequency of cystoscopy.

OBJECTIVE: To summarize the performance of urine-based biomarker tests, currently commercially available in the US, as part of the initial workup for hematuria and for bladder cancer surveillance.

METHODS: In accordance with PRISMA guidelines we performed a systematic review of the literature on the performance of NMP22, BTA, UroVysion, ImmunoCyt/uCyt, CxBladder, and Bladder EpiCheck. Median sensitivity, specificity, negative (NPV) and positive predictive values (PPV) were calculated for each test based on the included studies.

RESULTS: Twenty-eight studies met inclusion criteria for the performance of five urine-based biomarker tests in the setting hematuria workup. Median sensitivity ranged from 65.7% –100% and specificity ranged from 62.5% –93.8%. Median NPV ranged from 94.2% –98.3% and PPV ranged from 29% –58.7%. Fourteen studies met inclusion criteria for the performance of six tests in the setting of bladder cancer surveillance. Median sensitivity ranged from 22.6% –92.0% and specificity from 20.5% –97.9%. Median NPV ranged from 52.9% –96.5% and PPV ranged from 48.1% –75.7%.

CONCLUSIONS: Our analysis finds that while these tests may provide some clinical utility, none of the assays have thus far demonstrated objective evidence to supplant the gold diagnostic standard.