Emerging intravesical therapies for the management of bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG)-unresponsive non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer: Charting a path forward
Management of patients with bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG)- unresponsive, high-risk, non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) presents a formidable clinical challenge that requires urologists to weigh the competing risks of progression during further intravesical therapy vs. the morbidity of radical cystectomy. The prognosis of high-risk NMIBC recurring after BCG depends on the adequacy of prior BCG, timing of recurrence, and tumor histology. The standard of care is currently radical cystectomy, as effective salvage intravesical therapy has not been established. The development of bladder-sparing treatments has been hampered to date by inconsistent definitions of BCG failure and difficulties in identifying appropriate control treatments in clinical trials. Despite these limitations, the spectrum of salvage therapy is expanding to include enhanced intravesical chemo-, gene, and immuno-therapies. In this review, we provide an overview of these emerging agents in the context of our current understanding of BCG failure and the unique considerations for clinical trial design in this disease state.
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