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A Publication of the Patrick C. Walsh Prostate Cancer Research Fund


Upper Tract Urothelial Cancers: Who Will Benefit from Chemotherapy?

When it comes to chemotherapy for urothelial cancer, does location matter? Hopkins scientists are working to find out.

Date: 11/05/2019

Upper Tract Urothelial Cancers: Who Will Benefit from Chemotherapy?

“Recent studies have led to the identification of genetic biomarkers, including molecular subtypes, that can be used to predict benefit from presurgical (neoadjuvant) chemotherapy in urothelial cancers located in the bladder,” says medical oncologist Jean Hoffman-Censits, M.D. “However, we don’t know if these same biomarkers can predict chemotherapy benefit” if these tumors are located elsewhere – namely, in the ureter or renal pelvis; these are upper tract urothelial cancers (UTUCs).

Urologist Philip Pierorazio, M.D., and Hoffman-Censits are collaborating with other investigators to establish a research-based Center of Excellence at the Brady and the Greenberg Bladder Cancer Institute. In the recently completed Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group’s Phase II clinical trial, they and other Hopkins investigators demonstrated that neoadjuvant chemotherapy has clinical benefit in patients with UTUCs. Now, in a project supported by philanthropic donation from Jim and Pam Harris, they are performing molecular genetic studies to identify biomarkers that can help predict which patients with UTUCs are most likely to benefit. These studies are being performed in close collaboration with urologist Surena Matin, of MD Anderson.

Read more about our work on UTUCs.