BCG-Mediated Bladder Cancer Immunotherapy: Identifying Determinants of Treatment Response Using a Calibrated Mathematical Model
Rentsch CA, Biot C, Gsponer JR, Bachmann A, Albert ML, Breban R. PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e56327. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056327. Epub 2013 Feb 25


Department of Urology, University Hospital of Basel, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland ; Unité d'Immunologie des Cellules Dendritiques, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


Intravesical Bacillus Calmette Guérin (BCG) immunotherapy is considered the standard of care for treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer; however the treatment parameters were established empirically. In order to evaluate potential optimization of clinical parameters of BCG induction therapy, we constructed and queried a new mathematical model. Specifically, we assessed the impact of (1) duration between resection and the first instillation; (2) BCG dose; (3) indwelling time; and (4) treatment interval of induction therapy - using cure rate as the primary endpoint. Based on available clinical and in vitro experimental data, we constructed and parameterized a stochastic mathematical model describing the interactions between BCG, the immune system, the bladder mucosa and tumor cells. The primary endpoint of the model was the probability of tumor extinction following BCG induction therapy in patients with high risk for tumor recurrence. We theoretically demonstrate that extending the duration between the resection and the first BCG instillation negatively influences treatment outcome. Simulations of higher BCG doses and longer indwelling times both improved the probability of tumor extinction. A remarkable finding was that an inter-instillation interval two times longer than the seven-day interval used in the current standard of care would substantially improve treatment outcome. We provide insight into relevant clinical questions using a novel mathematical model of BCG immunotherapy. Our model predicts an altered regimen that may decrease side effects of treatment while improving response to therapy.