Experimental Drug Shows Promise for Treatment of Metastatic Bladder Cancer

According to results of a Phase I trial presented at the 2014 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, an investigative drug, MPDL3280A, demonstrates promise for the treatment of PD-L1 positive metastatic bladder cancer.

Bladder cancer is diagnosed in roughly 50,000 men and 17,000 women annually in the United States. Bladder cancer is the ninth most common cancer worldwide resulting in around 145,000 deaths globally each year.  Patients with advanced bladder cancer have few good treatment options and new treatment approaches are needed.

MPDL3280A is an anti-PDL1 therapy, which works by blocking the cancer’s ability to evade the immune system’s defense.  The drug is an engineered antibody that targets the PD-L1 protein for programmed cell death, and enables T cells of the immune system to more effectively attack cancer cells. PD-L1 is found on the surface of many cancer cells and impairs the immune system’s ability to fight the disease.

Researchers reported that MPDL3280A shrank tumors in 13 out of 30 (43%) patients identified as being PD-L1 positive who had been previously treated for metastatic bladder cancer.

Because new treatments are needed for bladder cancer, U.S. health regulators have granted the drug breakthrough therapy designation, which aims to fast-track its development and review times of drugs for serious or life-threatening conditions.  MPDL3280A will be available in clinical trials as doctors continue to evaluate its safety, side effects, optimal dosing and effectiveness.


Powles T, Vogelzan N, Fine GD, et al. Inhibition of PD-L1 by MPDL3280A and clinical activity in pts with metastatic urothelial bladder cancer (UBC).  J Clin Oncol 32:5s, 2014 (suppl; abstr 5011)

Copyright © 2018 CancerConnect. All Rights Reserved.