Superficial bladder cancer remains the most common form of bladder cancer in the United States. Over 75 percent of patients with bladder cancer have the superficial form of the disease and require long-term therapy and monitoring.
Current Treatment Protocols
One of the mainstays of therapy for patients with superficial bladder cancer who suffer multiple relapses, or who have high-grade tumors with or without invasion of the bladder lining or carcinoma in situ, is the use of intravesical drug therapy. During this treatment, immunotherapy or chemotherapy drugs are injected into the bladder through a catheter.
Since its introduction in the 1970s, a type of intravesical immunotherapy called the bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine has consistently provided the best control of relapse — and some believe progression — in patients with high-risk bladder cancers. Intravesical chemotherapy agents with slightly less efficacy but substantially fewer side effects, such as mitomycin C, have also been used with good effect in many patients.
Investigating New Drug Treatments for Superficial Bladder Cancer
New drugs are needed to treat patients with bladder cancer because even the best therapies available today only provide a 30 to 50 percent chance of long-term disease control. The Bladder Cancer Research Center has a strong investigational interest in new agents to treat superficial bladder cancer.