Role of perioperative immune checkpoint inhibitors in muscle invasive bladder cancer

Saachi Chhaya, Isabella Watts, Kenrick Ng, Rami Mustapha, Thomas Powles, Anand Sharma, Nikhil Vasdev

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To describe and highlight the current use of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) in the muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) treatment landscape, particularly focusing on the perioperative setting. We provide a comprehensive review of key trials of the use of ICI in the perioperative setting, discussing trial outcomes and limitations and reviewing the role of biomarkers.

ICIs have recently been integrated into the treatment algorithm for metastatic urothelial carcinoma. Over 30 published studies have investigated the role of these agents in the radical treatment of MIBC. Some studies have demonstrated conflicting results, affecting widespread adoption in clinical practice.

We performed a narrative overview of the literature from databases including; PubMed, MEDLINE, Embase, European society of Medical Oncology/American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Proceedings and databases up until December 2021.

We described the results of key trials in the neoadjuvant and adjuvant setting and some of the reasons for conflicting study results, and the implications for clinical practice. Relevant biomarkers in the field are discussed, alongside a brief overview of the immune microenvironment in bladder cancer.

Perioperative ICIs have shown promising efficacy with low toxicity in the neoadjuvant setting. The two large trials in the adjuvant setting have been contradictory. The efficacy of perioperative ICIs combined with favorable tolerability and better toxicity profile compared to chemotherapy, with the potential for biomarker driven patient selection, may lead to a change in future practice. There is, however, a lack of long-term survival and toxicity data for those treated with ICIs , and this needs to be developed further to demonstrate an added survival benefit by using ICIs .
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalOncology and Therapy
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2023


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