Biomarker Predicts Bladder Cancer Response To Treatment Interview with:
Chao Cheng, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Genetics
Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Sciences
Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Hanover NH, 03755

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Cheng: Bladder cancer is a common tumor type, with non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) representing the majority of cases. Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) treatment is an effective immunotherapy that is commonly used to treat cancers of this subtype. However, this treatment fails to suppress tumor recurrence in up to 40% of patients. For this reason, biomarkers that predict the recurrence/progression of bladder cancer and patient response to BCG therapy are needed to tailor treatment strategies to individual patients.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Cheng: We had previously developed an E2F4 signature that consisted of the E2F4 transcription factor and its target genes identified by ChIP-seq and ChIP-chip experiments. Here, we found that the E2F4 signature is predictive of the progression of both non-muscle-invasive and muscle-invasive bladder cancer. Furthermore, this signature is also predictive of patient responsiveness to intravesical BCG immunotherapy. Our results suggest that patients with positive E2F4 scores (indicating high E2F4 activity) benefit significantly from BCG therapy, while the progression of patients with negative E2F4 scores (indicating low E2F4 activity) does not show significant difference from untreated patients.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Cheng: An integration of genomic data with clinical information can provide new biological insights in cancer biology that allow us to identify new biomarkers for aiding clinical practice. In this case, our study provided clinicians with a way to separate patients more likely to respond to BCG treatment from those less likely to respond. This should aid physicians in selecting the most appropriate therapeutic treatment for NMIBC.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Cheng: Going forward, efforts should be taken to validate the prognostic value of the E2F4 signature in predicting bladder cancer progression or recurrence in an independent dataset. The ultimate goal of this study is a convenient and practical clinical test based on E2F4 to predict the efficacy of the BCG program for bladder cancer patients.


Mol Cancer Res. 2015 Jun 1. pii: molcanres.0120.2015. [Epub ahead of print]

E2F4 Program is Predictive of Progression and Intravesical Immunotherapy Efficacy in Bladder Cancer.

Cheng C1, Varn FS2, Marsit CJ3.

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Chao Cheng, Ph.D., & Assistant Professor (2015). Biomarker Predicts Bladder Cancer Response To Treatment 

Last Updated on July 2, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD