Phase 1 Trial of Atezolizumab Plus Trimodal Therapy in Patients With Localized Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2021 Jul 1;110(3):738-741. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.12.033. Epub 2021 Jan 6.


Purpose: Immune checkpoint programmed death-ligand 1 inhibitor therapy has shown response in metastatic muscle invasive bladder cancer (MIBC). We evaluated the safety and tolerability of atezolizumab (anti-programmed death-ligand 1) in combination with trimodal therapy in patients with localized MIBC.

Methods and materials: A prospective nonrandomized phase 1 study using a 3 + 3 design was conducted in patients with localized MIBC (T2-T4a N0M0) treated on a bladder preservation program. After transurethral resection of bladder tumor, patients received concurrent radiation therapy at a fixed dose of 50 Gy in 20 fractions, gemcitabine (100 mg/m2, intravenously once weekly for 4 weeks) and atezolizumab (1200 mg intravenously every 3 weeks for 16 cycles). The primary endpoint was safety/toxicity profile.

Results: Between May 2018 and March 2019, 8 patients (6 male and 2 female) were enrolled. The first 5 patients received atezolizumab at 1200 mg, 3 of whom developed grade 3 side effects (2 of them dose-limiting toxicity). Atezolizumab dose was reduced to 840 mg for 3 additional patients. The study was terminated due to the presence of 3 grade 3 adverse events (2 of which were dose-limiting toxicity) despite the reduced atezolizumab dose. Gastrointestinal events were the main toxicity. No grade 4 to 5 adverse effects were observed.

Conclusions: Concurrent administration of atezolizumab with concomitant hypofractionated radiation therapy and gemcitabine appears to be associated with unacceptable gastrointestinal toxicity. Although the numbers studied are small, our results suggest considerable caution with its concurrent use with trimodal therapy for MIBC.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Prospective Studies
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • atezolizumab