COLUMBUS, Ohio - Researchers have found a relatively simple way to dramatically improve the cancer-killing capacity of a drug often used to treat superficial bladder cancer.
The changes nearly doubled the number of people who were cancer-free after five years, compared to those receiving the standard therapy, and lengthened the time before tumors recurred in these patients.
The finding is the result of a five-year, international study published in the April 18 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The study looked at ways to improve the use of mitomycin C (MMC) following surgical removal of the tumor. In both the standard and the experimental therapy, MMC is placed in the bladder where it is held by the patient for about two hours.
The new therapy, however, took special measures to maintain a high drug concentration in the bladder.
"We compared the usual way of giving the drug to a new approach, said Jessie L-S Au, distinguished university professor and Dorothy M. Davis Chair in Cancer Research at the College of Pharmacy at Ohio State University.
Patients receiving the experimental treatment went an average of 29.1 months before their cancer recurred, while those receiving the standard treatment had recurrence in 11.3 months.
There was also a statistically significant difference in the number of patients who were recurrence-free after five years: 42.6 percent in the modified treatment versus 23.5 receiving standard treatment.
"We have found a way to make this treatment more effective in a highly significant way," said Au, a researcher with Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center. "We nearly doubled the percentage of patients who were disease-free after five years."
The study, done by Au and a team of researchers, involved 230 patients with confirmed superficial bladder cancer who were at high risk of recurrence. Of these, 111 patients received standard treatment and 119 received the experimental
Contact: Jessie L-S Au
Ohio State University