New Bladder Cancer Treatments 2021

Article last updated on 8/2/2021

What is Bladder Cancer?

Bladder cancer - or urothelial cancer - is a common type of cancer. It most often begins in the cells that line the inside of the bladder, called urothelial cells. Urothelial cells are also found in other parts of the urinary system, such as the kidneys and the ureters. Urothelial cancer is found much more often in the bladder than in the other parts. But because people sometimes have tumors in these places, too, all of the urinary tract needs to be checked for tumors.1

Most bladder cancers are found at an early stage. When left untreated, tumor cells spread beyond the lining, into or through the other layers in the bladder wall. It then has a higher stage, becomes more advanced, and can be harder to treat.1

What are Bladder Cancer symptoms?

The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in urine, which is usually painless.1

Other bladder cancer signs and symptoms may include:1

  • Frequent urination
  • Painful urination
  • Back pain

How is bladder cancer treated?

There are different bladder cancer treatment options. Depending on the type of cancer, stage, of cancer and grade of cancer, the treating doctor will decide what is the best treatment for Bladder cancer for you.2,3

Treatments for Bladder Cancer may include:2,3

  • Surgery, to remove the cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy inside the bladder, to kill cancer cells located in the lining of the bladder
  • Chemotherapy throughout body, to increase the chance for a cure in a person having surgery to remove the bladder, or as a primary treatment when surgery isn't an option
  • Radiation therapy, to destroy cancer cells, often as a primary treatment when surgery isn't an option or isn't desired
  • Immunotherapy in the bladder, which uses the body’s immune system to fight the cancer
  • Immunotherapy for the whole body
  • Targeted therapy, to treat advanced cancer when other treatments didn’t work.

The most common bladder cancer drug that is given in early stage tumors is Bacillus Calmette-Guerin or BCG. BCG is a type of immunotherapy that ‘switches on’ the immune system which directs immune cells to the bladder. BCG treatment for bladder cancer is given after surgery to help prevent the cancer from coming back.2,3

Targeted therapy for Bladder Cancer

Targeted therapy is a new type of therapy for patients with advanced cancer whose disease has progressed on chemotherapy and immunotherapy. One class of targeted therapies are antibody-drug conjugates (ADC), which can target and kill cancer cells while sparing healthy cells. ADCs are made up of 3 parts:4

  • Antibody, which is a type of protein that recognises and attaches to the antigen present on cancer cells.
  • Anti-cancer drug, which kills cancer cells once they are recognised.
  • Linker, a compound that connects (links) the antibody to the anti-cancer drug

Can Bladder Cancer be cured?

The prognosis of bladder cancer depends on various factors. Bladder cancer in the early stages (when it is confined to the lining of the bladder or when it has not spread to other places in the body) can often be cured. There is a change of recurrence, even with early-stage tumors, so treatment or surgery regular checkups are necessary.2,3

What are new Bladder Cancer treatments?

There are several approved Bladder Cancer treatments. Here are some of them:

Trodelvy (sacituzumab govitecan-hziy)5,6

Trodelvy (sacituzumab govitecan-hziy) is an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) used for the treatment of adult patients with:

  • Bladder cancer and cancers of the urinary tract that has spread or cannot be removed by surgery, and who have received a platinum-containing chemotherapy medicine and an immunotherapy medicine.
  • Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) that has spread to other parts of the body or cannot be removed by surgery, and who have received two or more prior treatments, including at least one treatment for metastatic disease.

Trodelvy was approved for the treatment of advanced bladder cancer by:

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), USA on April 13, 2021.

Padcev (enfortumab vedotin-ejfv)7,8

Padcev (enfortumab vedotin-ejfv) is an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) used to treat adults with bladder cancer that has spread or cannot be removed by surgery. It is indicated for patients with advanced bladder cancer whose disease has progressed on chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

Padcev (enfortumab vedotin-ejfv) was approved for the treatment of advanced urothelial cancer by:

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), on December 18, 2019.

Balversa (erdafitinib)9,10

Balversa (erdafitinib) is a kinase inhibitor used to treat adults bladder cancer that has spread or cannot be removed by surgery:

  • which has a certain type of abnormal fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) gene, and
  • who have tried at least one other platinum-containing chemotherapy medicine, and it did not work or is no longer working.

Balversa (erdafitinib) was approved for the treatment of bladder cancer by:

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), US, on April 2019.
  • Health Canada on December 2019.

Bavencio (avelumab)11,12

Bavencio (avelumab) is an immunotherapy indicated for the treatment of adults with:

  • Locally advanced or metastatic bladder cancer
  • Metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC; a rare type of skin cancer)
  • Advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC; kidney cancer)

Bavencio (avelumab) was approved for the treatment of locally advanced or metastatic bladder cancer by:

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), USA on October 12, 2017.

If you are trying to access new Bladder Cancer drugs that are approved outside of your country of residence, we might be able to help you access it with the support of your treating doctor. You can read more about the medicines we can help you and your doctor access and about their price below:

Why access and buy treatments for Bladder Cancer with TheSocialMedwork?

TheSocialMedwork is registered in The Hague with the Dutch Ministry of Health as an independent medicines intermediary (registration number 6730 BEM) and as an international pharmacy (registration number 16258 G). We have helped patients from over 85 countries to access thousands of medicines that are not yet approved in their home country, including patients suffering from Psoriatic Arthritis. With a prescription from your treating doctor, you can count on our expert team to safely and legally guide you to access Psoriatic Arthritis medicines in your country. If you or someone you know are looking to access a medicine that is not yet approved where you live, we will support you. Contact us for more information.


  5. Trodelvy (sacituzumab govitecan-hziy)
  6. Trodelvy FDA
  7. Padcev (enfortumab vedotin-ejfv)
  8. Padcev FDA
  9. Balversa (erdafitinib)
  10. Balversa FDA
  11. Bavencio (avelumab)
  12. Bavencio FDA

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to influence or impact the care provided by your treating physician. Please do not make changes to your treatment without first consulting your healthcare provider. This article is not intended to diagnose or treat illness or to influence treatment options. TheSocialMedwork is as diligent as possible in compiling and updating the information on this page. However, TheSocialMedwork does not guarantee the correctness and completeness of the information provided on this page.