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Incorporating Immunotherapy in the Treatment of Early-Stage Bladder Cancer

Arjun V. Balar, MD
Published Online:3:58 PM, Wed February 6, 2019

Arjun V. Balar, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Medicine and director of the genitourinary medical oncology program at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center, discusses a few approaches for incorporating immunotherapy treatments for patients with early-stage bladder cancer.

There is a major interest in using these therapies in the earlier setting, according to Balar. There are currently ongoing trials for stage II bladder cancer in either the perioperative setting, adjuvant setting, or in combination with chemotherapy and radiation in lieu of surgery.

Balar says that using immunotherapy in combination with chemotherapy and radiation instead of a radical cystectomy is the most exciting approach because many patients are poor surgical candidates that can’t tolerate the cystectomy, or they are not willing to undergo surgery. The procedure has a large impact on morbidity and quality of life, so it is understandable when they do not wish to undergo radical cystectomy, he says.
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