“It’s an exciting time in bladder cancer because for many years we’ve really had no improvements and no progress. Now we have something to hold onto that’s actually viable.
This isn’t the end of the story for bladder cancer; it’s just the beginning. These drugs are being used in lots of different stages: in the metastatic setting, the neoadjuvant setting prior to radical surgery, and now even with patients who have failed bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) with nonmuscle-invasive bladder cancer. So there’s a lot of potential use for these drugs; it’s really an exciting time.
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If you look at sheer numbers, more patients have nonmuscle-invasive bladder cancer. So if successful, that’s where it will impact the most patients. But advanced pre-surgical and metastatic cancer is really where it can have more of an impact on quantity of life for individual patients. In the more advanced cancers, I think it will have a greater impact on a smaller number of patients but will make a bigger difference in their survival. We’re not talking cures, but we are talking a significant impact on survival outcomes, which are pretty terrible for patients with metastatic bladder cancer so far.
The treatment of metastatic cancer is seeing that impact now, while the other stages are still in clinical trials, so it may be a good 3 to 5 years out before we see the full impact.”
Rian Dickstein, MD