July 9, 2019
Dr. Boormans from Erasmus MC has started a pilot in collaboration with MML Medical to use the Bladder EpiCheck in the follow-up of bladder cancer in Erasmus MC, with the aim of reducing the number of cystoscopies. A cystoscopy is a stressful examination for the patient. A scoop (camera) is inserted into the bladder through the urethra by the urologist to check whether the bladder cancer has not returned.
With the Bladder EpiCheck test that has recently appeared on the market, the patient only has to deliver urine. The urine is then analyzed by Sanquin Diagnostics for molecular abnormalities in the urine that may indicate a recurrence of bladder cancer. The result of the test is sent to Dr. Boormans and if the result indicates the absence of cancer in the bladder, Dr. Boormans may decide to skip a cystoscopy. In addition to standard care, the test will initially be offered to 20 patients who are being checked in Erasmus MC for high-grade non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer.
Bladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer in Europe. Three-quarters of bladder cancer tumors are non-muscle invasive and therefore do not continue to grow into the deeper layers of the bladder. Non-muscle invasive tumors are easy to treat, but the chance of recurrence (recurrence of the cancer) is quite high (70%). Patients must therefore remain under long-term control, and visit the urologist up to four times a year for a cystoscopy.
With the 'Bladder EpiCheck' test it is possible to extract from urine whether the bladder cancer is still absent and thus to reduce the number of cystoscopies. A multi-center study into the 'Bladder EpiCheck' test showed a very high negative predictive value (NPV) of> 99% in high-grade bladder cancer. This means that if the test is negative, the chance is> 99% that the patient does not have a high grade tumor. If the result of the urine test indicates absence of bladder cancer, the urologist may consider skipping the next cystoscopy. The patient does not then have to come to the hospital for a follow-up examination and does not have to undergo a burdensome cystoscopic examination. The Bladder EpiCheck is a good example of an innovation that improves the QOL of bladder cancer patients!
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