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Thomas Flaig, MD


AACR 2022: Use of Novel Tissue Assays to Predict Therapeutic Response in Bladder Cancer

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 2022 Annual Meeting (Abstract 3072/8) suggests that functional assays of medication sensitivity in samples from patients with bladder cancer may result in improved therapeutic precision. Processes such as organoid development and medication screening may have prognostic value in identifying patients’ likely therapeutic response to a particular treatment regimen.

“Use of this technique on tissue provided during disease workup may further guide selection of effective therapeutic agents in patients with bladder cancer. This would overall minimize the morbidity of standard-of-care therapies and could be used to identify alternative therapeutics for patients who progress on standard therapies,” concluded Nathan M. Merrill, MD, of the University of Michigan, and colleagues.

The study included up to 100 tumor samples, each greater than 1 g, collected from patients who were undergoing a transurethral resection of bladder tumor or cystectomy. Individual samples were divided and assigned to receive either DNA/RNA sequencing, organoid medication screening, or single-cell sequencing of chemotherapy-endurant cells. Results from medication screening underlined the broad spectrum of responses to chemotherapies that may clinically benefit only a few patients when administered neoadjuvantly. However, several targeted therapies were identified as potentially active for patients who experience disease progression after undergoing resection and adjuvant chemotherapy.

Approximately two-thirds of the collected samples exhibited organoid development and underwent medication screening. Up to 34 medications were administered at the maximum plasma concentration used in human trials; dose response administration was used for nine medications. High levels of correlation were observed between the developed organoid models and urethral lines from the Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia. Additional analysis of subtype and mutation or copy number data suggest the trial’s organoid data set is a comprehensive reflection of disease.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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