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New treatment option studied for bladder cancer
Date:10/29/2007

apy regimen that includes the drug carboplatin instead of cisplatin both platinum-based compounds that also keep cancer cells from dividing is more kidney friendly but less effective than the cisplatin regimen, studies have shown. Bristol-Myers Squibb produces cisplatin and carboplatin.

Participants will either get vinflunine and gemcitabine or gemcitabine alone. They will get the drug regimen intravenously on days one and eight of a 21-day cycle. Patients who do well may continue taking it up to a year or more.

Anemia is the major side effect of vinflunine, which suppresses the bone marrow, but existing anemia does not exclude patients from the trial, Dr. Coleman says.

She hopes the regimen will be at least as effective as the cisplatin therapy, which give patients with non-metastatic disease about a 50-50 chance of living five years. An earlier study in patients with advanced cancer who received a previous chemotherapy regimen, then vinflunine alone, showed 67 percent had their disease stabilized.

Smoking is the number-one risk factor for bladder cancer. The first symptom is often blood in the urine. Bladder cancer begins in the urinary lining of the bladder, says Dr. Coleman. When that lining is disrupted, its like pulling layers of skin off. You will bleed into your urine. You can have pain, but thats usually a later sign.

Physicians will examine the lining and take a biopsy to determine the extent of the cancer. If you catch it early, its absolutely curable, Dr. Coleman says. Physicians literally tear off the diseased lining, which will eventually re-grow. If its the early stage- one disease, but an aggressive form, BCG, an agent used as a vaccine for tuberculosis that stimulates an immune response, is injected directly into the bladder once a week for six weeks.

The fact that the bladder is literally a sac makes it a target for cancer by holding liquid toxic waste from a smokers body, Dr. Coleman says. H
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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@mcg.edu
706-721-4421
Medical College of Georgia  
Source:Eurekalert

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