If Treatment Does Not Work
Full recovery from bladder cancer is not always possible. If the cancer cannot be cured or controlled, the disease may be called advanced or metastatic.
This diagnosis is stressful, and for many people, advanced cancer is difficult to discuss. However, it is important to have open and honest conversations with your health care team to express your feelings, preferences, and concerns. The health care team has special skills, experience, expertise, and knowledge to support patients and their families, and is there to help. Making sure a person is physically comfortable, free from pain, and emotionally supported is extremely important.
Patients who have advanced cancer and who are expected to live less than 6 months may want to consider hospice care. Hospice care is a specific type of palliative care designed to provide the best possible quality of life for people who are near the end of life. You and your family are encouraged to talk with the health care team about hospice care options, which include hospice care at home, a special hospice center, or other health care locations. Nursing care and special equipment can make staying at home a workable option for many families. Learn more about advanced cancer care planning.
After the death of a loved one, many people need support to help them cope with the loss. Learn more about grief and loss.
Clinical Trial Results Point To Change In Care Of Patients With High Risk Of Metastatic Recurrence
- New York, NY
A phase 3 clinical trial co-led by Mount Sinai researchers is the first to show that immunotherapy after surgery to remove bladder cancer can reduce the risk of relapse for patients who are at high risk of their cancer returning in a deadly metastatic form, according to results published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The immunotherapy nivolumab was used as an adjuvant therapy, which is given after surgery in the hopes of maximizing its effectiveness.
The randomized trial, named Checkmate 274, showed that using nivolumab increased these patients chance of staying cancer free after surgery compared to patients who received a placebo. The average length of time before relapse nearly doubled in patients who received nivolumab, which is a monoclonal antibody immune checkpoint inhibitor that harnesses the immune system to fight cancer.
Surgery that removes the bladder or kidney and ureter is currently the standard of care for patients with urothelial cancer that has entered surrounding muscle or lymph nodes, though half of these patients later relapse with lethal metastatic cancer. Unfortunately for these patients, no consensus has emerged regarding treatments after surgery that might reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.
About the Mount Sinai Health System
Which Chemo Drugs Are Used To Treat Bladder Cancer
Chemo drugs may be used alone or in combination, depending on what theyre being used for, a persons overall health, and other factors.
When chemo is given with radiation, the most common drugs used include:
When chemo is used without radiation, the most common combinations include:
- Gemcitabine and cisplatin
- Dose-dense methotrexate, vinblastine, doxorubicin , and cisplatin
- Cisplatin, methotrexate, and vinblastine
- Gemcitabine and paclitaxel
For some people, the side effects of getting more than one chemo drug might be too much to handle. For those people, treatment with a single drug, such as gemcitabine or cisplatin, may be an option. Other drugs sometimes used alone for bladder cancer include, docetaxel, paclitaxel, doxorubicin, methotrexate, ifosfamide, and pemetrexed.
Doctors give chemo in cycles, with each period of treatment followed by a rest period to allow the body time to recover. Each cycle typically lasts for a few weeks.
Most bladder cancers are transitional cell cancers, but there are other types as well, including squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and small cell carcinoma. These rare types of bladder cancer may be treated with drugs different from those listed above.
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Bcg And Safety At Home
- For the first six hours after BCG treatment, sit down on the toilet when urinating to avoid splashing. Pour 2 cups of household bleach into the toilet bowl. Wait 15 minutes before flushing and wipe the toilet seat with bleach.
- If you are wearing incontinence pads, take care when disposing of them. Pour bleach on the used pad, allow it to soak in, then place the pad in a plastic bag. Seal the bag and put it in your rubbish bin. You may be able to take it back to the hospital or treatment centre for disposal in a biohazard bin.
- If any clothing is splashed with urine, wash separately in bleach and warm water.
- For a few days after treatment, wash your hands extra well after going to the toilet, and wash or shower if your skin comes in contact with urine.
- Speak to your doctor or nurse if you have any questions.
When To See A Doctor
There are a few side effects that can be especially dangerous, so make sure to talk to your doctor if you notice that you:
- Have a severe skin rash
- Are wheezing or having difficulty breathing
- Are finding swallowing to be difficult
- Have a high fever that isnt lowered with Tylenol or other over-the-counter fever reducers
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When Is Chemotherapy Used
Systemic chemo can be used :
- Before surgery to try to shrink a tumor so that it’s easier to remove and to help lower the chance the cancer will come back. Giving chemo before surgery is called neoadjuvant therapy.
- After surgery . This is called adjuvant therapy. The goal of adjuvant therapy is to kill any cancer cells that may remain after other treatments. This can lower the chance that the cancer will come back later.
- In people getting radiation therapy, to help the radiation work better.
- As the main treatment for bladder cancers that have spread to distant parts of the body.
Immune Cell Gene Expression Profiling
Therefore, gene expression profiling represents a very promising predictive biomarker even if several issues are still open. In fact, the lack of standardized commercially available gene panels as of yet and their uncertain negative predictive value, since some responses were also identified in patients with a non-inflamed cytokine signatures, lead to be cautious .
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Starting Immunotherapy: What To Expect
The FDA has approved several immunotherapy drugs to treat bladder cancer:
Once you and your doctor decide to start one of these treatments, it helps to know a bit about what you can expect while youâre getting it.
How do you get immunotherapy?
To get immunotherapy, youâll go to a treatment center on a regular schedule to get the medicine through an infusion, a tube that goes into a vein. Your doctor will decide how many rounds of treatment you need.
Your doctor will order some lab tests before and during your treatment to see how your body responds to the drug.
You take the medicine through a tube that goes in one of your veins.
A doctor or nurse will look after you when youâre getting the IV to make sure you donât have any bad reactions or side effects. If you do, your doctor might slow down the infusion or delay or stop the treatment.
Speak up if you feel any of these while youâre getting treatment:
Some immunotherapy drugs can also affect your ability to have children. Talk to your doctor before you start treatment to figure out the options you have if you want to have a baby in the future.
Development Of Recombinant Bcg Strains
BCG in combination with Th1 stimulating cytokines has demonstrated to improve BCG efficacy in the treatment of bladder cancer. However, these strategies require multiple applications and a large quantity of recombinant cytokines. Genetic manipulation of BCG to secrete Th1 stimulating cytokines provides an opportunity to overcome the drawbacks. To date, numerous recombinant BCG strains capable of secreting cytokines or chemokines, mainly Th1 stimulating cytokines such as IL-2, IL-12, IL-18, IFN- and IFN-, have been developed . Most of these rBCG strains have demonstrated to be superior to BCG in the induction of Th1 immune responses and antitumor immunity in pre-clinical settings.
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Intravesical Therapy For Bladder Cancer
Doctors at NYU Langones Perlmutter Cancer Center may use intravesical medications to treat bladder cancer. These liquid medications are placed directly into the bladder through a catheter inserted into the urethra, the tube that runs from the bladder to the outside of the body. The process of inserting the catheter and releasing the medication is called instillation.
Because intravesical medications are placed in the bladder, they dont circulate throughout the body in the same way that chemotherapy drugs do when they are administered via other methods. This means they have fewer side effects. Intravesical medications exit the body through urination.
We lead clinical trials that offer innovative treatment options, including immunotherapy, vaccines, and targeted therapies for people who have high-risk noninvasive bladder cancer.
Our doctors may use intravesical medication to treat noninvasive bladder cancer that has not invaded the bladder muscle. They may also use it to prevent recurrences of a rapidly growing, or more aggressive, cancer that has the ability to grow into the bladder muscle or is likely to recur after surgical treatment.
Sex After Bcg Treatment
Men should use a condom during sex for the first week after each BCG treatment. If you are a woman having the treatment, your partner should use a condom during this time. This protects your partner from any BCG that may be present in semen or vaginal fluid. Your doctor or specialist nurse can give you more information about this.
Doctors do not yet know how BCG may affect an unborn baby. They will recommend you do not become pregnant or make someone pregnant while having it. You should use effective contraception during treatment. Your doctor or specialist nurse can give you more information about this.
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How Often Do You Receive Immunotherapy
How often and how long you receive immunotherapy depends on:
- your type of cancer and how advanced it is
- the type of immunotherapy you get
- how your body reacts to treatment
You may have treatment every day, week, or month. Some types of immunotherapy given in cycles. A cycle is a period of treatment followed by a period of rest. The rest period gives your body a chance to recover, respond to immunotherapy, and build new healthy cells.
Bcg Therapy In Conjunction With Il
Unlike Th1 stimulating cytokines discussed above, IL-10 is distinct in that its primary effect is to promote a Th2 response and thus dampen the immunotherapeutic effects of BCG for the treatment of bladder cancer . As a result, it may have therapeutic value not by its native function, but by abrogation of its native function. IL-10 was first characterized in 1989. It was initially termed cytokine synthesis inhibitory factor , a rather fitting name, because it was found to inhibit the production of several cytokines produced by Th1 clones . The most important of these cytokines was IFN-, which was recognized as an important player in the Th1 response. As discussed previously, it is a key contributor in the immunotherapeutic effectiveness of BCG . Further studies showed that IL-10 prevented DTH response to BCG and the neutralization or abrogation of IL-10 prolonged a response, thus further supporting its role in the Th1/2 response . Several human tumors, including melanoma, non-small cell lung carcinoma, renal cell carcinoma and bladder cancer, have been found to have elevated expression of IL-10 . It is speculated that production of IL-10 by tumor cells may represent an escape mechanism whereby tumor cells avoid Th1 immune mediated tumoricidal effects .
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Which Cancers Are Treated With Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy drugs have been approved to treat many types of cancer. However, immunotherapy is not yet as widely used as surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. To learn about whether immunotherapy may be used to treat your cancer, see the PDQ® adult cancer treatment summaries and childhood cancer treatment summaries.
Adverse Effects Of Bcg
Common adverse effects include cystitis, dysuria, malaise, fatigue, and a low fever . These can be managed by NSAIDS, phenazopyridine, and anticholinergics. If symptoms become intense or last longer than 24 hours, consider either delaying additional instillations until symptoms improve or reducing the dose.
In a review including 2602 patients treated with intravesical BCG instillation , the most common side effects were fever > 103ºF, hematuria, granulomatous prostatitis, pneumonitis and/or hepatitis, arthralgia, epididymitis, sepsis, rash, ureteral obstruction, bladder contracture, renal abscess, and cytopenia.
Early-onset BCG infection often presents as systemic manifestations. In contrast, delayed-onset infection presents as localized disease. Manifestations are as follows:
- Systemic manifestations occur when BCG disseminates outside of the genitourinary tract. They include sepsis syndrome, pulmonary issues from dyspnea, granulomatous hepatitis, osteomyelitis, reactive arthritis, monoarthritis, psoas abscess, and vascular complications due to mycotic aneurysms.
- Localized manifestations include cystitis, bladder contracture, granulomatous prostatitis, prostate abscess, epididymo-orchitis, testicular abscess, pyelonephritis, renal abscess, urethral stricture, and balanitis.
The AUA has noted the following with regard to BCG2:
Contributor Information and Disclosures
Fellow in Urologic Oncology and Minimally Invasive Surgery, University of Chicago Medical Center
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Is There Any Preparation Involved
Its important that you follow your doctors instructions for what to do before and after the procedure. Tell your doctor about all the medications you take. Certain immunosuppressants, antimicrobial therapies, and radiation therapies can interfere with BCG treatment.
Youll be advised to limit your fluid intake for four hours prior to the procedure. You might be told to avoid caffeine for a few hours longer than that, because its a diuretic and could make things more difficult.
Youll be asked to urinate just before the procedure so youll be able to hold the medication in your bladder for several hours.
Physical Emotional And Social Effects Of Cancer
Cancer and its treatment cause physical symptoms and side effects, as well as emotional, social, and financial effects. Managing all of these effects is called palliative care or supportive care. It is an important part of your care that is included along with treatments intended to slow, stop, or eliminate the cancer.
Palliative care focuses on improving how you feel feels during treatment by managing symptoms and supporting patients and their families with other, non-medical needs. Any person, regardless of age or type and stage of cancer, may receive this type of care. And it often works best when it is started right after an advanced cancer diagnosis. People who receive palliative care along with treatment for the cancer often have less severe symptoms, better quality of life, report that they are more satisfied with treatment, and they may live longer.
Palliative treatments vary widely and often include medication, nutritional changes, relaxation techniques, emotional and spiritual support, and other therapies. You may also receive palliative treatments similar to those meant to get rid of the cancer, such as chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation therapy.
Before treatment begins, talk with your doctor about the goals of each treatment in the treatment plan. You should also talk about the possible side effects of the specific treatment plan and palliative care options.
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Clinical Trials Of New Treatments
Perlmutter Cancer Center researchers are national leaders in investigating the use of new chemotherapy drugs, immunotherapies, and targeted drugs, which are designed to treat cancer cells while avoiding healthy tissue.
We are leaders in bladder cancer clinical trials that use novel combinations of immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and radiation to tailor treatment for each person.
Immunotherapy And Urinary Bladder Cancer
Global Allied Pharmaceuticals, Center for Excellence in Research and Development, 160 Vista Oak Dr. Longwood, FL 32779, USA
Global Allied Pharmaceuticals, Center for Excellence in Research and Development, 160 Vista Oak Dr. Longwood, FL 32779, USA
Naveed Basha Court
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Is Immunotherapy Right For Me
If you have metastatic bladder cancer, when the disease has spread to other parts of your body, youâve probably tried other treatments. If they havenât worked, you still have options, including immunotherapy.
These medicines can spur your body’s immune system to identify and destroy cancer cells.
Talk carefully with your doctor to decide whether immunotherapy is a good choice for your treatment.
Making your decision
Your doctor will think about a few things before they recommend immunotherapy for you:
- The type of cancer you have
- How far the disease has spread in your body, called the stage of your cancer
- The chances your disease will come back
- The size and number of tumors
- Other treatments youâve already tried
When making your decision, ask your doctor a few questions to get a better idea of the role immunotherapy might play in your overall treatment plan, such as:
- Why are you recommending immunotherapy for me?
- Will immunotherapy be the only treatment I get right now? How does it work with other types of bladder cancer treatment?
- How will it help me?
- What kind of side effects should I expect?
- How long will the treatment last? What is the process like?
What Is Bcg Treatment For Non
BCG is an intravesical immunotherapy using a bacteria of Mycobacterium bovis that has been reduced to cause less harm to the body. The bacteria is still kept viable so that it can actively work in the body to kill the cancer cells.
Intravesical is a way in which a medication is put into the bladder. Liquid drugs are put directly into the bladder through a catheter.
BCG is used as a therapy for and protection against bladder cancers that come back after a period of time in patients that have a more aggressive bladder cancer diagnosis. It is currently the most effective treatment.
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