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Examining the Impact of Immunotherapy in Bladder Cancer

Joaquim Bellmunt, MD, PhD
Published Online:3:39 PM, Fri December 28, 2018

Joaquim Bellmunt, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, director, Bladder Cancer Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, discusses the impact of immunotherapy compared to chemotherapy as a treatment for patients with bladder cancer.

Initially, experts thought immunotherapy would replace chemotherapy, but only a small percentage of patients with metastatic bladder cancer, for example, have shown benefit with immunotherapy. This leaves room for improvement, Bellmunt says.

Chemotherapy in combination with immunotherapy has shown improved outcomes in other cancers such as kidney or lung cancer, Bellmunt says. In the future, he expects combination therapy to beat monotherapy in frontline bladder cancer.

Bellmunt also notes it is important to remember chemotherapy is still an active way of enhancing results and improving survival in patients with bladder cancer.
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