Treatment for urothelial cancer has undergone rapid change. Cisplatin based chemotherapy should be given in the neo-adjuvant setting in muscle invasive bladder cancer and could play a role in trimodality therapy when combined with surgery and radiotherapy. Genetic profiling has differentiated several subtypes of urothelial cancer, mimicking progress seen in breast cancer. Of these subtypes, p53 like tumours are less likely to respond to neo-adjuvant chemotherapy. In metastatic urothelial cancer, systemic immunotherapy (checkpoint inhibitors) has shown promising results in first line and second line patients. In a phase III trial, pembrolizumab, an anti-PD1 (programmed cell death 1) antibody, showed a survival benefit in second line metastatic urothelial cancer and should be the new standard of care. In patients who are cisplatin ineligible checkpoint can be used in first line, but no phase III data are available.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2018;12(5):212–217)