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Scientists reveal why one type of chemotherapy works best in bladder cancer

ANI Jan 29, 2024

According to a study published in Cell Reports Medicine in January, researchers at Tisch Cancer Institute showed that a certain form of chemotherapy boosts the immune system's ability to fight bladder cancer, especially when paired with immunotherapy.

These findings may explain why the approach, cisplatin chemotherapy, can lead to a cure in a small subset of patients with metastatic, or advanced, bladder cancer.

Researchers also believe their findings could 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 are 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," said the study's lead author Matthew Galsky, M.D., Co-Director of the Center of Excellence for Bladder Cancer at The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai.

"This study provides clues as to why cisplatin-based chemotherapy may achieve durable disease control in a subset of patients with metastatic bladder cancer, provides clues as to which patients may derive such benefit, and provides a foundation for building even better treatment regimens that exploit the immunomodulatory effects of cisplatin-based chemotherapy."

Bladder cancer affects about 83,000 people in the United States annually. Metastatic bladder cancer is tough to cure with current treatments, so these findings are an important step to most effectively use the drugs available and determine effective combination therapies.

The study found that cisplatin chemotherapy may work better when the body generates a pre-existing but restrained immune response against the tumour.

The study further found that cisplatin damages DNA in cancer cells, which may lead to changes in the expression of genes that might improve the ability of the body's immune system to detect cancer cells.

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