In a recent interview with Oncology Nursing News, researcher Vinata Lochshwar, chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Georgia College of Medicine at Augusta University, discussed the need for non-invasive bladder cancer tests and why these tests show a promise.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Patients In Bladder Cancer?
Lokeshwar: Patients have blood in the urine, called hematuria. When patients go to the doctor they do something called cystoscopy where a long tube is inserted into the urethra and the camera and urologists look into the bladder for a tumor. It is an invasive tumor, expensive and not without side effects. This is not something routinely done unless the patient presents himself with hematuria.
If the patient has haematuria and has bladder cancer, 30% of these tumors are of high class in the sense that they are the ones that can lead to later tumors that invade the bladder wall, which is invasive. Tumors invading the bladder wall have a greater chance of being metastatic and those with a poor clinical outcome.
The idea is, if you can catch the tumor early, then it will be a good thing for patients, especially if the patient has haematuria, then you can catch the tumor.
What is the unmet need when it comes to tests for detecting and monitoring bladder cancer?
At the same time, not every patient with hematuria has bladder cancer. Sometimes this haematuria is not even visible or symptomatic. In these patients, in order to detect haematuria and undergo cystoscopy, this is not necessary when there is no bladder tumor because only about 15% to 25% of the patients who can see blood in their urine have bladder cancer and less than 10% of patients. with asymptomatic haematuria have bladder cancer. So you can imagine that we are doing so many cysts for patients who do not need them. As a result, there are a lot of costs to our health care system, as well as the placement of patients through an invasive procedure.
For this reason, it is urgent to find non-invasive urine tests. There is practically no risk to the patient. We need a very accurate, non-invasive test that can detect bladder cancer in patients with haematuria, as this will avoid unnecessary cystoscopy from patients but at the same time you can stop the delay in getting patient cysts who really need me.
What are the benefits of the urine test against others?
Bladder tumors have a high incidence of recurrences – 50% to 80% of patients who have had a bladder tumor that has been removed have a chance to develop another bladder tumor within two years. So, once you have had a new tumor, you are on the same cycle. Therefore, bladder cancer is considered to be one of the most expensive types of cancer for treatment or clinical management from diagnosis to outcome. This is a high-maintenance condition, because you need to keep this in mind. If patients have to undergo cystoscopy routinely at regular intervals, it would be good to have a urine test that can monitor cancer as well as cystoscopy. In this way, we can reduce the number of cysts that are being done to the patient.