Heating Bladder Cancer Drug May Improve Efficacy

HIVECä method could improve bladder cancer treatment and save money.

A new study found that heating the chemotherapy drug mitomycin-C can improve its efficacy in treating bladder cancer.

Most bladder cancer can be treated through removal of the tumor, but some patients require further treatment that circulates drugs around the bladder.

The method, called recirculant hyperthermic IntraVEsical chemotherapy (HIVECä), included heating mitomycin-C and diluted water to 43°C before treating the bladder.

According to the study published in the International Journal of Hyperthermia, the drugs were recirculated at 200 mL per minute at a stable pressure and the bladder temperature was maintained for 1 hour.

The study included 40 patients who were split into 2 groups. The first group received HIVECä treatment before resection of the bladder and the second group received HIVECä treatment after resection of the bladder.

A majority of the patients responded well to the treatment and 97% finished the full course of treatment. Adverse effects were low grade and did not affect treatment much, the researchers wrote.

Researchers believe that heating the solution increased efficacy of the drug due to increased solubility and increased permeability of the bladder lining. After 3 years, researchers estimated cost saving to be €687 per patient.

Some patients were treated with HIVECä instead of standard surgery and researchers found these patients’ tumors disappeared and had not come back within the follow-up period. Researchers concluded this method could be a less invasive alternative to surgery, which could be very significant.