Prognostic and Predictive Factors in Bladder Cancer

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Bladder cancer is a potentially curable malignancy; however in regards to the state of current therapy regimens, a plateau has been reached in both the non-muscle and muscle invasive types. To obtain effective treatment, and consequently a decreased mortality, it has become imperative to test and understand aspects affecting therapy response. The aim of this thesis is to illustrate a better understanding of clinical factors affecting therapy response using new drug combinations and new tumor markers alongside established risk criteria. In Paper I we reported the 5 year follow up from a multicenter, prospectively randomized study and we evaluated the 5-year outcomes of BCG alone compared to a combination of epirubicin and interferon-a2b in the treatment of patients with T1 bladder cancer. Treatment, tumor size and tumor status at second resection were independent variables associated with recurrence. Concomitant Cis was not predictive of failure of BCG therapy. Independent factor for treatment failure was remaining T1 stage at second resection. In Paper II &III we investigated the validity of emmprin, survivin and CCTα proteins as biomarkers for response and survival before neoadjuvant cisplatin chemotherapy. Bladder tumor specimens were obtained before therapy from a total of 250 patients with T1-T4 bladder cancer enrolled in 2 randomized trials comparing neoadjuvant chemotherapy before cystectomy with a surgery only arm. Protein expression was determined by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Patients in the chemotherapy cohort with negative emmprin and CCTα expression had significantly better overall survival (OS) than those with positive expression. In Paper IV primary end point was examining STMN1 as prognostic factor in bladder cancer.  Analysis was performed on three bladder cancer patient cohorts using IHC, western blot and a bladder cancer cell line. High levels of STMN1, expression correlated to shorter disease-specific survival and the growth and migration of the cells were significantly reduced when transfecting the cells with STMN1 siRNA. Conclusion Risk assessment and predictors of outcomes could help in individualized treatment and follow up.  Biomarkers will become more important for treatment choices in bladder cancer management.