A Urinary Drug-Disposing Approach as an Alternative to Intravesical Chemotherapy for Treating Nonmuscle Invasive Bladder Cancer

Cancer Res. 2022 Apr 1;82(7):1409-1422. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-21-2897.


The standard treatment of nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) is transurethral resection of the tumors, followed by intravesical therapy (IT), which comprises a direct instillation of a solution of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine or chemotherapy into the bladder. However, the recurrence rate in this disease remains unacceptably high. IT is a local treatment that fails to reach tumors developed in the upper urinary tract (ureter and renal pelvis). The catheterization procedure required for IT is invasive, painful, and poses an increased infection risk, resulting in poor patient quality of life and compliance. There is an unmet need for a potent, comprehensive, and noninvasive option. Without chemical modifications, peptides are rapidly removed by renal clearance. This "shortcoming" can be advantageous when used as a drug carrier for directing therapy to NMIBC. Here we develop a urinary drug-disposing (UDD) approach to improve NMIBC treatment. A 12-amino acid bio-inert peptide (Bdd) that can be exclusively eliminated via renal filtration was generated for delivering the microtubule inhibitor DM1 to NMIBC with minimal nonspecific accumulation in other organs. The UDD approach prolonged survival of mice bearing human bladder tumors. Unlike IT, the treatment was given noninvasively (intravenously). Furthermore, it was more effective at suppressing tumor growth than clinically used IT (mitomycin) and safer than free DM1. The application of this UDD approach to treat kidney tumors and deliver other drugs such as doxorubicin was also demonstrated. Overall, the rapid renal clearance of peptides can be exploited to direct cancer therapies to the urinary system.

Significance: A noninvasive drug delivery approach that targets the urinary system overcomes the current barriers facing effective treatment of bladder cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Animals
  • BCG Vaccine / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Quality of Life
  • Urinary Bladder / pathology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms* / pathology


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • BCG Vaccine
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations