Dr. de Wit Discusses Findings With Pembrolizumab in NMIBC

Ronald de Wit, MD, PhD

Ronald de Wit, MD, PhD, group leader, Experimental Systematic Therapy of Urogenital Cancers program, Erasmus MC Cancer Institute, Rotterdam, Netherlands, discusses findings with pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC).

Pembrolizumab demonstrated encouraging antitumor activity in patients with high-risk NMIBC whose tumors were unresponsive to Bacillus Calmette-Guérin, according to interim findings from an ongoing single-arm open-label phase II study. At 3 months, 38.8% (n=40) of patients had a complete response (CR). The median time to CR was 12.4 weeks (95% CI, 10.4-19.3). Of the 40 patients who had a CR, 29 (72.5%) had ongoing responses and about 80% of patients had a CR duration ≥6 months. The median duration of CR had not been reached, and de Wit says that many patients are still in response. Additionally, no patients progressed to muscle-invasive disease.

These results are encouraging, de Wit says, and this may provide another option for these patients, whose only option currently is radical cystectomy. Pembrolizumab is an important new avenue of treatment, as it can preserve the bladder and avoid subjecting patients to the morbidity and mortality of a radical cystectomy, or the possibility of progression to invasive disease.  
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