Researchers in our hospital make breakthroughs in fight against bladder cancer

Each year, more than 200,000 people worldwide die from urothelial cell cancer, a form of bladder cancer. The two 'late breaking abstracts' that were in the limelight on Sunday 22 October 2023 at the European Oncology Congress in Madrid bring hopeful news for the future. The clinical studies centre at Maria Middelares General Hospital was actively involved in these studies as a Belgian study centre. "It is an unprecedented breakthrough," said Prof Vulsteke and Prof Decaestecker of Maria Middelares General Hospital, both co-authors of these studies.

The first study showed a marked survival benefit of treatment with the medication enfortumab vedotin and pembrolizumab versus conventional chemotherapy. The decrease in cancer injuries was impressive and sustainable. Such results had never been observed in metastatic bladder cancer before.

There were also encouraging results at an earlier stage with the SunRISe-1 study. This study demonstrated that TAR-200 (a medication that is slowly released into the bladder via a special technique)can prevent the removal of a diseased bladder.

The full results of these studies will be published shortly in leading medical journals.

"These studies are groundbreaking. We are particularly proud of having been able to help many patients, but also of being able to share these impressive results on a large scale," commented Prof Vulsteke(left) and Prof Decaestecker (right), the researchers who direct the multidisciplinary study centre for oncology-urology at Maria Middelares General Hospital and who are co-authors of the studies.

Prof Christof Vulsteke and Prof Karel Decaestecker
Prof Christof Vulsteke and Prof Karel Decaestecker