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Tracy Rose, MD, MPH

A new study is the first to report the beneficial use of chemotherapy plus immunotherapy before surgical removal of the bladder in muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC). Researchers at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center led the study, reporting that the regimen reduced the invasiveness of the cancer in 56 percent of patients in a phase II clinical trial.

The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

“Downstaging, or treating tumors so that they become less invasive prior to surgical removal, is an important tool in muscle-invasive bladder cancer,” said UNC Lineberger’s Tracy Rose, MD, MPH, assistant professor at the UNC School of Medicine and lead author of this finding. “If we can treat a tumor pre-surgically so that it regresses to a stage where it is superficial and does not invade the bladder muscle wall, the chances of long-term survival are better.”

Read more from the UNC Lineberger Newsroom.