Scientists have shown for the first time that immune cells in the urine of bladder cancer patients accurately reflect those in the tumour environment, according to research* published today (Wednesday) in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.
Unexpectedly, the Cancer Research UK-funded study showed that immune cells found in the urine were more representative of the tumour than immune cells from the blood, suggesting that urine, rather than blood liquid biopsies, could help to more accurately monitor response to immunotherapy in patients.
Immunotherapy has shown success in patients with advanced bladder cancer and is approved** in the UK for certain patients. Despite this, only around a quarter of patients respond to immune checkpoint-targeting drugs, demonstrating a pressing need to better understand the immune landscape of bladder cancer and develop new therapeutics.
The study, which was also supported by the National Institute for Health Research, looked at 32 patients with bladder cancer that had invaded the muscle wall. Urine and blood samples were taken on the day of surgery to remove their tumour, and these were compared with both their tumour and healthy bladder tissue.
The researchers at University College London (UCL) Cancer Institute and UCL Hospitals were able to identify
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