Perioperative immunotherapy for muscle-invasive bladder cancer

In-Ho Kim, Hyo Jin Lee


Radical cystectomy is the standard of care treatment for patients with localized muscle- invasive bladder cancer (MIBC). However, patients with MIBC experience high rates of relapse despite primary therapy, and perioperative strategy is an important treatment option. Cisplatin-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy was associated with improved prognosis, and adjuvant chemotherapy is also an important option for selected patients. However, perioperative chemotherapy is not effective in some patients. Moreover, the currently recommended perioperative treatment is cisplatin-based chemotherapy; approximately 50% of the patients are ineligilble for cisplatin treatment owing to various reasons such as medical comorbidities, poor performance status, and renal insufficiency. The recent success of treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) suggests that ICIs is the new standard therapy for patients with metastatic bladder cancer. Furthermore, ICIs showed more favorable toxicity profiles than conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy. These results indicate that ICIs may play a role in the treatment of muscle-invasive disease, and many recent studies have been conducted in a perioperative setting. The present review aims to summarize and discuss the current perioperative strategy of immunotherapy focused on ICIs based on recent ongoing clinical trials.