Tue, Mar 07, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Team finds therapy to slow bladder cancer

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The growth of bladder cancer cells can be slowed significantly by using targeted therapy, a research team from Chang Gung Memorial Hospital at Linkou said yesterday.

The team, led by Pang See-tong (馮思中), a physician at the hospital’s department of urologic oncology, found that the mutation rate of the KDM6A gene, which acts as a tumor suppressor, in bladder cancer cells can be as high as 38 percent, causing abnormal EZH2 gene expression, causing the cancer cells to grow faster.

The team cooperated with researchers from National University Cancer Institute, Singapore, to conduct the study.

Pang said animal testing showed that administering a targeted therapy by using GSK343, an EZH2 inhibitor, the size of cancer cell growth can be inhibited by 24 percent by the 14th day, and 33 percent by the 16th day.

The experiment was repeated with patient-derived xenograft cancer models and cancer cell growth was again inhibited by the 14th day, he said.

The finding might provide a new direction for treating patients with late-stage bladder cancer in a bid to improve their chances of survival, Pang said, adding that they are in the process of applying for clinical trials.

“Bladder cancer is the most common malignant tumor in the urinary tract and its incidence rate is increasing in Taiwan,” Pang said.

Government data in 2013 showed that about 2,000 cases were reported each year and the incidence rate in men is about 2.8 times higher than that of women, he said, adding that bladder cancer is the ninth most common cancer type in the nation.

“Success rate for treating early-stage bladder cancer can be as high as 90 percent, but the five-year survival rate for people with late-stage bladder cancer that has metastasized to other parts of the body can be lower than 50 percent,” Pang said.

He said early-stage bladder cancer is often treated by removing the tumor, but treatment for metastatic bladder cancer often includes chemotherapy, targeted therapy or immunotherapy, but added that the success rate is limited.

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