Treatment of muscle-invasive and advanced bladder cancer in 2020

Vaibhav G Patel, William K Oh, Matthew D Galsky
CA: a Cancer Journal for Clinicians 2020, 70 (5): 404-423
Bladder cancer accounts for nearly 170,000 deaths worldwide annually. For over 4 decades, the systemic management of muscle-invasive and advanced bladder cancer has primarily consisted of platinum-based chemotherapy. Over the past 10 years, innovations in sequencing technologies have led to rapid genomic characterization of bladder cancer, deepening our understanding of bladder cancer pathogenesis and exposing potential therapeutic vulnerabilities. On the basis of its high mutational burden, immune checkpoint inhibitors were investigated in advanced bladder cancer, revealing durable responses in a subset of patients. These agents are now approved for several indications and highlight the changing treatment landscape of advanced bladder cancer. In addition, commonly expressed molecular targets were leveraged to develop targeted therapies, such as fibroblast growth factor receptor inhibitors and antibody-drug conjugates. The molecular characterization of bladder cancer and the development of novel therapies also have stimulated investigations into optimizing treatment approaches for muscle-invasive bladder cancer. Herein, the authors review the history of muscle-invasive and advanced bladder cancer management, highlight the important molecular characteristics of bladder cancer, describe the major advances in treatment, and offer future directions for therapeutic development.

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