Review of Experimental Studies to Improve Radiotherapy Response in Bladder Cancer: Comments and Perspectives

Nom de la revue
Linda Silina, Fatlinda Maksut, Isabelle Bernard-Pierrot, François Radvanyi, Gilles Créhange, Frédérique Mégnin-Chanet, Pierre Verrelle

Bladder cancer is among the top ten most common cancer types in the world. Around 25% of all cases are muscle-invasive bladder cancer, for which the gold standard treatment in the absence of metastasis is the cystectomy. In recent years, trimodality treatment associating maximal transurethral resection and radiotherapy combined with concurrent chemotherapy is increasingly used as an organ-preserving alternative. However, the use of this treatment is still limited by the lack of biomarkers predicting tumour response and by a lack of targeted radiosensitising drugs that can improve the therapeutic index, especially by limiting side effects such as bladder fibrosis. In order to improve the bladder-preserving treatment, experimental studies addressing these main issues ought to be considered (both in vitro and in vivo studies). Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines for systematic reviews, we conducted a literature search in PubMed on experimental studies investigating how to improve bladder cancer radiotherapy with different radiosensitising agents using a comprehensive search string. We made comments on experimental model selection, experimental design and results, formulating the gaps of knowledge still existing: such as the lack of reliable predictive biomarkers of tumour response to chemoradiation according to the molecular tumour subtype and lack of efficient radiosensitising agents specifically targeting bladder tumour cells. We provided guidance to improve forthcoming studies, such as taking into account molecular characteristics of the preclinical models and highlighted the value of using patient-derived xenografts as well as syngeneic models. Finally, this review could be a useful tool to set up new radiation-based combined treatments with an improved therapeutic index that is needed for bladder preservation.