Researchers at the Tisch Cancer Institute have discovered that a certain type of chemotherapy improves the immune system’s ability to fight bladder cancer, especially when combined with immunotherapy, according to a published study. Cell Report Medicine In January.
These findings may explain why the regimen, cisplatin chemotherapy, can be curative in a small subset of patients with metastatic, or advanced, bladder cancer. The researchers also believe their findings may explain why clinical trials combining another type of chemotherapy, carboplatin-based chemo, with immunotherapy have not been successful but others that use cisplatin with immunotherapy have been successful.
We have known for decades that cisplatin works better than carboplatin in bladder cancer, however, the mechanisms underlying those clinical observations have remained elusive until now. This study provides clues as to why cisplatin-based chemotherapy can achieve durable disease control in a subset of patients with metastatic bladder cancer, provides benefits to patients and provides a basis for developing better treatment regimens that exploit “cisplatin.” Immunomodulatory effects of -based chemotherapy.”
Matthew Galsky, MD, the study’s lead author, is co-director of the Center of Excellence for Bladder Cancer at Mount Sinai’s Tissue Cancer Institute.
Bladder cancer affects about 83,000 people in the United States annually. Metastatic bladder cancer is particularly difficult to cure with current treatments, so these findings are an important step toward making the most effective use of available drugs and determining effective combination therapies.
Studies have shown that cisplatin chemotherapy may work better when the body mounts a pre-existing, but limited, immune response against the tumor. Further studies have shown that cisplatin damages DNA in cancer cells, which can cause changes in gene expression that can improve the body’s immune system’s ability to recognize cancer cells.
This study was part of a large scientific team effort that used biospecimens from an international phase-3 clinical trial involving multiple institutions. This research was funded by Genentech.