Bladder Cancer: Latest Research

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 04/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about this type of cancer and how to treat it. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Doctors are working to learn more about bladder cancer, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options best for you.

Positron emission tomography (PET) scan. Ongoing research is indicating that a PET scan may help find bladder cancer that has spread better than a CT scan or MRI alone. A PET scan is a way to create pictures of organs and tissues inside the body. A small amount of a radioactive sugar substance is injected into the patient’s body. This sugar substance is taken up by cells that use the most energy. Because cancer tends to use energy actively, it absorbs more of the radioactive substance. A scanner then detects this substance to produce images of the inside of the body.

Laparoscopic cystectomy. As outlined in the Treatment Options section under Surgery, several studies are underway to find out whether laparoscopic bladder removal is as safe as standard surgery and whether the cure rates are the same.

Molecular testing. Tests to identify changes to genes or proteins that could be a sign of bladder cancer may help predict a bladder cancer recurrence or predict which patients may need more aggressive treatment. DNA changes may also help predict prognosis for people with bladder cancer.

Targeted therapy. Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets the cancer’s specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. This type of treatment blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells while limiting damage to normal cells. Research is underway to determine how targeted therapy may be used to treat bladder cancer. For instance, a clinical trial is looking at combining targeted therapy with radiation therapy to help preserve bladder function.

New drugs and drug combinations. As described in the Treatment Options section, researchers are studying new drugs and new combinations of chemotherapy.

Supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find a better way of reducing symptoms and side effects of current bladder cancer treatments in order to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding bladder cancer, explore these related items:

The next section addresses how to cope with the symptoms of the disease or the side effects of its treatment. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Coping with Side Effects, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.