Treatments for metastatic bladder cancer
The following are treatment options for metastatic bladder cancer. Metastatic bladder cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This includes stage 4 and bladder cancers that come back in another part of the body (called distant recurrences). Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan.
Chemotherapy is usually offered for metastatic bladder cancer. It is usually the first treatment to help slow the growth and spread of the cancer. It is used to help improve survival and
Chemotherapy is given as a
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Targeted therapy is sometimes used to treat metastic bladder cancer. Targeted therapy uses drugs to target specific molecules (such as proteins) on or inside cancer cells to stop the growth and spread of cancer and limit harm to normal cells. Erdafitinib (Balversa) can be used to treat metastatic bladder cancer that has mutations in the FGFR2 or FGFR3 gene and doesn't respond to chemotherapy.
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You may be offered
If bladder cancer spreads to the bone, external radiation therapy is sometimes used to treat it. Find out more about bone metastases.
You may be offered immunotherapy for metastatic bladder cancer. An immune checkpoint inhibitor is an immunotherapy drug that may be used if metastatic bladder cancer:
- is still growing during or after chemotherapy that includes cisplatin
- comes back within 12 months of finishing chemotherapy that includes cisplatin
The immune checkpoint inhibitors used for bladder cancer are:
- pembrolizumab (Keytruda)
- durvalumab (Imfinzi)
- atezolizumab (Tecentriq)
- avelumab (Bavencio)
Surgery may be offered for some cases of metastatic bladder cancer if surgery is possible (the cancer is resectable). It is used to help control symptoms, such as bleeding and pain (called palliative surgery). The type of surgery done depends on how the symptoms can be managed. Types of surgery that may be done include the following.
A transurethral resection of bladder tumour (TURBT) to remove tumours from the bladder through the urethra.
A cystectomy to remove all or part of the bladder. It is not a common surgery for metastatic bladder cancer.
A urinary diversion to make a new way to hold urine (pee) and pass it out of the body. It is done after the whole bladder is removed (radical cystectomy). A urinary diversion (without a cystectomy) may also be done if there is a blockage and urine can’t leave the body.
If you can’t have or don’t want cancer treatment @(Model.HeadingTag)>
You may want to consider a type of care to make you feel better without treating the cancer itself. This may be because the cancer treatments don’t work anymore, they’re not likely to improve your condition or they may cause side effects that are hard to cope with. There may also be other reasons why you can’t have or don’t want cancer treatment.
Talk to your healthcare team. They can help you choose care and treatment for advanced cancer.
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Alberta Health Services. Muscle Invasive and Locally Advanced/Metastatic Bladder Cancer Clinical Practice Guideline GU-002 (Version 5). Alberta Health Services; 2013: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/assets/info/hp/cancer/if-hp-cancer-guide-gu002-bladder.pdf.
American Cancer Society. Treating Bladder Cancer. 2016: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/bladder-cancer/treating.html.
American Society of Clinical Oncology. Bladder Cancer. 2017: https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/bladder-cancer.
Cancer Care Ontario. Bladder Cancer Diagnosis, Treatment and Follow-up Care Pathway Map (Version 2017.02). 2017: http://ocp.cancercare.on.ca/cms/One.aspx?portalId=327895&pageId=370578.
Drugs and Health Products, Health Canada. Regulatory Decision Summary: Keytruda. 2017: https://hpr-rps.hres.ca/reg-content/regulatory-decision-summary-detail.php?lang=en&linkID=RDS00286.
Drugs and Health Products, Health Canada. Summary Basis of Decision (SBD) for IMFINZI. 2018: https://hpr-rps.hres.ca/reg-content/summary-basis-decision-detailTwo.php?linkID=SBD00384.
Feldman AS, Efstathiou JA, Lee RJ, Dahl DM, Michaelson MD, Zietman AL . Cancer of the bladder, ureter, and renal pelvis. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015: 65:896-916.
National Cancer Institute. Bladder Cancer Treatment (PDQ®) Health Professional Version. 2018: https://www.cancer.gov/types/bladder/hp/bladder-treatment-pdq.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Bladder Cancer (Version 5.2018).
Penn Medicine. All About Bladder Cancer. University of Pennsylvania; 2017: https://www.oncolink.org/cancers/urinary-tract/bladder-cancer/all-about-bladder-cancer.