Key Challenges in the Bladder Cancer Therapeutics Market

Published: 8 Aug 2007

By Paljit Mudhar, Programme Leader, Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology – Healthcare

Bladder cancer is the seventh most common cancer malignancy worldwide. This cancer is more prevalent in men than in women and is the fourth most common cancer in men. In most populations, the incidence of bladder cancer is three to four times higher in men than in women because of higher exposure to tobacco smoking and aromatic amines in men. In industrially developed countries, particularly in North America and Western Europe, there are higher incidences of bladder cancer, as these areas are associated with endemic schistosomiasis, which is caused by blood infection.

It is estimated that 203,000 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States and Europe. Of these, 70.0 per cent are diagnosed with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer and between 50 and 60 per cent will have a recurrence in their lifetime. Individuals between 65 and 85 years are most likely to suffer from bladder cancer, as the risk increases with ages. The median age of diagnosis is 65 years. Therefore, medical comorbidities are a frequent consideration in patient management. Bladder cancers are rarely diagnosed in individuals younger than 40 years.

Bladder cancer places a significant burden on society in terms of morbidity and mortality. However, bladder cancer therapeutics offer scope for further improvement in the process of care, disease detection and monitoring, and the treatment of advanced disease. With the current levels of sophistication and the molecular biology revolution, there is a better understanding of the disease. New treatments using radiotherapy or chemotherapy alone, or in combination, as well as a number of immunotherapies are being tested in clinical trials. Recent years have also seen greater activity in the field of targeted therapy. Monoclonal antibodies for instance, have minimal side effects compared to standard chemotherapeutic agents. Additionally, improved surgery techniques have increased the quality of life for patients with invasive bladder cancer.

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