Urology Times reached out to three urologists (selected randomly) and asked them each the following question: How will bladder cancer care change with new drug approvals?
"It will have significant impact for nonmuscle-invasive bladder cancer. The availability of solutions like Bacillus Calmette-Guérin [BCG] has become so sporadic, we just can’t acquire BCG in a safe and efficient fashion. Since we can’t get it, we need to find some new and novel approaches. This will make a significant impact.
The newer therapies hold promise even above the BCG, but BCG was, and remains, a very important medicine. It’s just harder to find. So it’s a great opportunity and the timing is good. Since there’s a dire need, industry will come in and help us fill that need, so from that perspective it’s great we have these new medicines.
It will be for refractory cases of BCG, without some of the potential side effects of BCG. Although in my experience BCG has been pretty safe, Keytruda [pembrolizumab] is really a step beyond BCG.
It certainly looks like these new therapies will provide better results. From the research and literature, it looks like significant improvement. Keytruda can have side effects such as pneumonitis, but it is an effective treatment and when you’re treating a lethal disease, it’s a matter of weighing the potential side effects, which are reasonable in number, with the new medicines.
I’m looking forward to using them, not just for refractory disease or BCG-refractory disease, but also in lieu of BCG if it’s not available, and for the many people who are not inclined to have a cystectomy.”
Jeffrey Ranta, MD / Wellsboro, PA