According to an article recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, administration of the chemotherapy agent Taxotere® (docetaxel) directly into the bladder appears to be an effective treatment option for patients with early bladder cancer that has recurred following standard therapies.

Bladder cancer is a common cancer; approximately 55,000 new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Superficial bladder cancer refers to cancer that remains localized within the outermost (most superficial) layers of the bladder and has not spread to deeper layers. Patients with superficial bladder cancer are routinely treated with surgical removal of the cancer and additional (adjuvant) therapy to decrease the risk of cancer recurrence or progression to more invasive disease.

Despite standard treatment, many patients with superficial bladder cancer experience a recurrence of their cancer. Following the removal of the cancer, patients with superficial bladder cancer are usually treated with adjuvant intravesical therapy (placement of the drug directly into the bladder). This often consists of mitomycin C or Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG). BCG, an immunotherapy agent, is derived from a weakened form of a bacterium related to bacteria that cause tuberculosis.

While this therapy is beneficial, recurrences are common. Researchers are evaluating ways to enhance the effectiveness of intravesical therapy to reduce the risk of recurrences in patients with superficial bladder cancer.

Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center in New York recently conducted a clinical study to evaluate intravesical administration of Taxotere in patients with recurrent superficial bladder cancer. This trial included 18 patients who had received at least one prior intravesical treatment for their disease.

  • 56% of patients had no evidence of cancer following treatment with intravesical Taxotere.
  • Those who experienced a cancer recurrence following intravesical Taxotere did not experience progression of their cancer.
  • No severe side effects were reported.

The researchers concluded that intravesical administration with Taxotere appears to provide an effective treatment alternative for patients with superficial bladder cancer whose cancer has recurred following prior therapies. Future studies further evaluating intravesical Taxotere are warranted in patients with bladder cancer who don’t have an adequate anticancer response to standard therapies.

Reference: McKiernan J, Masson P, Murphy A, et al. Phase I Trial of Intravesical Docetaxel in the Management of Superficial Bladder Cancer Refractory to Standard Intravesical Therapy. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2006; 24: 3075-3080.

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