Treatment of Metastatic Bladder Cancer

  • Won Hoon Song
  • Hyeong Dong Yuk


Most bladder cancer patients present with noninvasive bladder cancer, but 20–40% of patients progress to advanced state with muscle-invasive or metastatic disease (Raghavan, Urol Oncol 21:468–474, 2003). In general, bladder cancer first spreads to lymph nodes and then to distant organs, and invasion of distant organs such as the lung, liver, and bone is a poor prognostic factor for bladder cancer (Loehrer et al., J Clin Oncol 10:1066–1073, 1992). The most common treatment for metastatic bladder cancer is systemic chemotherapy (Loehrer et al., J Clin Oncol 10:1066–1073, 1992). Cisplatin-based chemotherapy was the only treatment approved by the FDA (Vaughn et al., J Clin Oncol 20:937–940, 2002). There is little RCT performed with first-line setting in metastatic bladder cancer. Second-line setting also has few RCTs performed. Although combination chemotherapy has a high initial response rate, the median survival rate for cisplatin-based first-line chemotherapy is 12–15 months, and the 5-year survival rate is about 15% (von der Maase et al., J Clin Oncol 23:4602–4608, 2005; von der Maase et al., J Clin Oncol 19:3068–3077, 2000). In addition, the results of second chemotherapy are limited and have a little evidence that OS and quality of life can be greatly improved based on modest response rates in small, randomized, phase II trials. However, recently, five immunotherapeutic agents (atezolizumab, avelumab, durvalumab, nivolumab, and pembrolizumab) have been developed and approved by the FDA. It can be used in the second-line setting as well as the first setting in case of ineligibility to cisplatin. Also, immune checkpoint inhibitor-related biomarker and combined immunotherapy have been actively studied, and research on precision medicine.


Palliative chemotherapy Metastatic bladder cancer Immunotherapy Biomarker Precision medicine 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Won Hoon Song
    • 1
  • Hyeong Dong Yuk
    • 1
  1. 1.Seoul National University HospitalSeoulSouth Korea

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