Early-stage bladder cancer occurs as two distinct forms: namely, low-grade superficial disease and high-grade carcinoma in situ (CIS), which is the major precursor of muscle-invasive bladder cancer. Although the low-grade form is readily treatable, few, if any, effective treatments are currently available for preventing progression of nonmuscle-invasive CIS to invasive bladder cancer. Based on our previous findings that the mammalian target of Rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway is activated in muscle-invasive bladder cancer, but not superficial disease, we reasoned that suppression of this pathway might block cancer progression. To test this idea, we performed in vivo preclinical studies using a genetically engineered mouse model that we now show recapitulates progression from nonmuscle-invasive CIS to muscle-invasive bladder tumors. We find that delivery of Rapamycin, an mTOR inhibitor, subsequent to the occurrence of CIS effectively prevents progression to invasive bladder cancer. Furthermore, we show that intravesical delivery of Rapamycin directly into the bladder lumen is highly effective for suppressing bladder tumorigenesis. Thus, our findings show the potential therapeutic benefit of inhibiting mTOR signaling for treatment of patients at high risk of developing invasive bladder cancer. More broadly, our findings support a more widespread use of intravesical delivery of therapeutic agents for treatment of high-risk bladder cancer patients, and provide a mouse model for effective preclinical testing of potential novel agents.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research