Intravesical treatments of bladder cancer: review

Pharm Res. 2008 Jul;25(7):1500-10. doi: 10.1007/s11095-008-9566-7. Epub 2008 Mar 28.


For bladder cancer, intravesical chemo/immunotherapy is widely used as adjuvant therapies after surgical transurethal resection, while systemic therapy is typically reserved for higher stage, muscle-invading, or metastatic diseases. The goal of intravesical therapy is to eradicate existing or residual tumors through direct cytoablation or immunostimulation. The unique properties of the urinary bladder render it a fertile ground for evaluating additional novel experimental approaches to regional therapy, including iontophoresis/electrophoresis, local hyperthermia, co-administration of permeation enhancers, bioadhesive carriers, magnetic-targeted particles and gene therapy. Furthermore, due to its unique anatomical properties, the drug concentration-time profiles in various layers of bladder tissues during and after intravesical therapy can be described by mathematical models comprised of drug disposition and transport kinetic parameters. The drug delivery data, in turn, can be combined with the effective drug exposure to infer treatment efficacy and thereby assists the selection of optimal regimens. To our knowledge, intravesical therapy of bladder cancer represents the first example where computational pharmacological approach was used to design, and successfully predicted the outcome of, a randomized phase III trial (using mitomycin C). This review summarizes the pharmacological principles and the current status of intravesical therapy, and the application of computation to optimize the drug delivery to target sites and the treatment efficacy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Humans
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents