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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 91-95 Table of Contents     

Assessment of angiogenic factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, serum and urine level changes in superficial bladder tumor immunotherapy by intravesical Bacillus Calmette-Guerin


1 Endoscopic and Minimally Invasive Surgery Research Center, Mashad, Iran
2 Mashad University of Medical Sciences, Ghaem Hospital, Mashad, Iran

Date of Submission11-Apr-2010
Date of Acceptance12-Jul-2010
Date of Web Publication27-Aug-2010

Correspondence Address:
Behzad Feizzadeh Kerigh
Endoscopic and Minimally Invasive Surgery Research Center, Mashad University of Medical Sciences, Ghaem Hospital, Mashad
Iran
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DOI: 10.4103/0974-7796.68855

PMID: 20981194

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   Abstract 

Background and Aim: Bladder tumor is one of the most common genitourinary tumors. Management of non-muscle invasive (NMI) bladder tumors is primarily by transurethral resection (TURBT) followed by intravesical immunotherapy or chemotherapy. Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) is the most effective adjuvant therapy in NMI bladder tumor. Since angiogenesis is an essential factor in solid tumor progression and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an important factor in angiogenesis, the aim of this study is the assessment of angiogenic factor, VEGF, serum and urine level changes in superficial bladder tumor immunotherapy by intravesical BCG.
Materials and Methods: A total of 23 patients with bladder transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) in stage Ta/T1 or carcinoma insitu (CIS), low or high grade, which passed a 2-4 week period from TURBT participated in this study. Blood and urine samples were obtained at first and sixth sessions before instillation of BCG. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) method was used to obtain VEGF level in samples.
Results: Urine and serum VEGF levels did not change significantly before and after BCG therapy. Changes in VEGF level were significantly different neither in low grade against high grade tumors nor in stage T1 against stage Ta tumors. A significant difference in VEGF level was seen between low grade and high grade tumors in serum after BCG therapy (P=0.007); but not in urine samples.
Conclusion: Although intravesical BCG possesses anti-angiogenic activity, it seems that it exerts its effect through pathways other than VEGF, especially in low grade tumors.

Keywords: Angiogenic factor, intravesical Bacillus Calmette-Guerin, superficial bladder tumors, vascular endothelial growth factor


How to cite this article:
Kerigh BF, Bahrami A, Shamsa A, Abolbashari M. Assessment of angiogenic factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, serum and urine level changes in superficial bladder tumor immunotherapy by intravesical Bacillus Calmette-Guerin. Urol Ann 2010;2:91-5

How to cite this URL:
Kerigh BF, Bahrami A, Shamsa A, Abolbashari M. Assessment of angiogenic factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, serum and urine level changes in superficial bladder tumor immunotherapy by intravesical Bacillus Calmette-Guerin. Urol Ann [serial online] 2010 [cited 2019 Sep 19];2:91-5. Available from: http://www.urologyannals.com/text.asp?2010/2/3/91/68855


   Introduction Top


Bladder tumor is one of the most common genitourinary tumors. It is the fourth common cancer in men after prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers; and accounts for 6.8% of cancer cases. [1] Mortality due to bladder cancer is relatively high. Also, 13,180 cases of deaths were reported due to bladder cancer in USA in the year 2005. [1]

More than 90% of bladder cancers are transitional cell carcinomas in which 70% are non-muscle invasive (NMI) including tumors in stage Ta (70%), T1 (20%) and carcinoma in situ (10%). [2] Management of NMI bladder tumors is primarily by transurethral resection (TURBT) followed by intravesical immunotherapy or chemotherapy. [3],[4],[5]

Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) is the most effective adjuvant therapy that has succeeded in reduction of recurrence rate and progression of bladder transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). [6] Despite the widespread use of BCG in TCC of the bladder, its mechanism is not well recognized. On the other hand, many studies have shown the role of angiogenesis in tumor progression and spread. [7],[8],[9] Many factors are included in angiogenesis among which vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) seems to be one of the most important components. [10],[11] VEGF is a principal regulator of angiogenesis, which induces proliferation and differentiation of endothelial cells. VEGF had been used as a diagnostic indicator in bladder tumor. [12],[13]

Overexpression of VEGF has been shown in high stage bladder tumor. VEGF level also has an impact on prognosis and mortality rate of bladder cancer. Drugs that aimed on VEGF and their pathways have shown encouraging results for tumor therapy in different studies. [14],[15],[16],[17],[18],[19]

The aim of this study is the assessment of angiogenic factor, VEGF, serum and urine level changes in superficial bladder tumor immunotherapy by intravesical BCG. To our knowledge, such an issue has not been investigated yet.


   Materials and Methods Top


This is a prospective and non-randomized study. Twenty-three patients with NMI TCC bladder tumor, who were referred to our center for BCG therapy from April 2006 to September 2008, were enrolled in this study based on the following criteria.

Inclusion criteria were bladder TCC in stage Ta/T1 or carcinoma insitu (CIS), low or high grade, which passed a 2-4 week period from TURBT. The exclusion criteria were tuberculosis history, clinical active urinary tract infection, total urinary incontinence, pregnancy, immunosuppressed patients, gross hematuria, hepatic disease, stage T2 or higher. Indications to discontinue BCG were urethral injury during catheterization, tuberculosis-induced sepsis, fever with temperature more than 38.5C for 48 hours during BCG therapy or any occurrence of fever with temperature >40C.

All the patients were informed about the study and informed consent was taken from all of them. This study was approved by ethical committee of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences.

Besides BCG therapy that was a therapeutic part in the study; other interventions were blood sampling (2 ml) from vein and urine sampling through voided urine.

Blood and urine samples were obtained at first session of BCG therapy before instillation of BCG; also, sixth sessions of BCG therapy were performed. Pasteur institute BCG vials, which contained 120 mg BCG, were used. At the sixth session, before instillation of BCG, blood and urine samples were obtained. Blood samples were centrifuged to separate serum. Then these samples, as well as urine samples, were refrigerated at -20C.

To obtain VEGF level in samples, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) method was used. Samples were warmed at room temperature. Serum samples were directly treated and urine samples were examined by 1/2 dilution. Human VEGF ELISA development kit (Duoset from R and D system, Minneapolis, MN, USA) was used. Samples were placed adjacent to the antibody, and after being washed for several times, they were read using a micro plate reader.

BCG vial was diluted with 50 ml normal saline for instillation of BCG, and then it was infused through a 8-Fr. urethral catheter. Before instillation, the patient was asked to void urine to empty the bladder completely; after instillation of BCG, the patient was instructed to retain urine for at least 2 hours.

Data were analyzed by SPSS software (version 11). The t test and non-parametric tests were used to evaluate data.


   Results Top


A total of 23 patients with NMI bladder TCC, who were referred to our center for BCG therapy, from April 2006 to September 2008, and who fulfilled the including criteria were assessed.

Among them were 21 (91.3%) males and 2 (8.7%) females. The patients were 25-80 years old (62±13). Sixteen patients presented with gross hematuria and then diagnosed to have TCC.

One patient's chief complaint was dysuria. The remaining six patients were diagnosed incidentally by microscopic hematuria in urine analysis or through an ultrasonography of bladder. There was no RBC in urine analysis of five patients.

Symptoms of more advanced disease were present in one patient who complained of flank pain. But the pathologic results showed NMI disease in this case. Irritative symptoms were present in 13 (65%) patients.

One-third of the patients had history of smoking. They had smoked for 20-50 years and with an average of 1.25 packs per day.

Majority of the patients were in stage T1 (61%) and others were in stage Ta. On grading, there were 4 patients with high grade tumor and 19 patients with low grade tumor. All high grade tumors were of stage T1 on pathology and all were males.

VEGF level was assessed using ELISA method. Serum VEGF levels before and after BCG therapy were 31-2000 pg/ml (488±498) and 105-1860 pg/ml (516±502), respectively. Urine VEGF levels before and after BCG therapy were 0-2000 pg/ml (153±424) and 0-2000 pg/ml (132±413), respectively.

There was no significant difference in VEGF levels due to BCG therapy in serum and urine (P=0.86 for both pairs) [Table 1].
Table 1 : Urine and serum VEGF before and after BCG therapy

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Patients in low grade and high grade groups were compared according to VEGF level [Table 2]. In both the groups, urine VEGF was reduced after BCG therapy; however, this reduction was more in high grade group. Serum VEGF level was reduced in high grade group but not statistically significant difference was observed. Serum VEGF level change in low grade group was not significant.
Table 2 : Urine and serum VEGF according to tumor grade

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Groups were stratified according to stage [Table 3]. In T1 group, VEGF level reduced in serum, but increased in urine after BCG therapy. In Ta group, VEGF level did not differ after BCG therapy.
Table 3 : Urine and serum VEGF according to tumor stage

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VEGF levels in urine and serum before and after BCG therapy were compared according to the grade of tumor. A significant difference in VEGF levels was seen between low grade and high grade tumors in serum after BCG therapy (P=0.007).


   Discussion Top


Intravesical BCG therapy is an effective treatment for NMI bladder TCC. [3] BCG mechanism is not defined well; but many theories have been proposed. [3],[20] One of the important mechanisms of BCG in NMI TCC is inhibition of neovascularization, which is mediated through several factors. [21],[22] Interferon-gamma (IFN-g), interferon-inducible protein-10 (IP-10), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) are among the factors that are increased after BCG therapy. These factors exert angiogenic effects. [22]

VEGF is one of the principal factors in angiogenesis. [10] VEGF is increased in bladder tumor and this increase is influenced by tumor stage and grade. [23],[24] VEGF also has an effect on prognosis and recurrence of bladder tumor. [25] This study was designed to assess the changes of VEGF level in serum and urine after BCG therapy.

Age distribution was comparable with TCC distribution worldwide. Patients' average age was 62.6 years that was comparable with that of Jemal et al.'s study. [1] TCC occurred more often in males. Gross hematuria was the presenting symptom in majority of the patients. Only 30% of patients were free of gross hematuria at presentation. This shows the importance of gross hematuria and necessity of diagnostic work-up in aged patients with hematuria. Smoking is one the risk factors for bladder tumor, attributing to the condition in 30% of patients. In this study, 30% of patients had the history of smoking.

VEGF measurement was performed by ELISA method. This method was frequency used in several studies. [21],[22] In this study, although VEGF level was reduced in urine after BCG therapy, but this change was not statistically significant. Pavlovich et al. showed that VEGF increases in urine after BCG therapy. This finding is in contrast with our findings. This difference may be attributed to small sample size in Pavlovich's study. [22] Morgan et al. demonstrated that VEGF in bladder tissue does not change significantly after BCG therapy. However, in 24 patients who showed no recurrence, tissue VEGF was not identifiable. Serum VEGF changed slightly after BCG therapy; however, this change was not significant. [21]

Urine VEGF level was lower in low grade tumors than in high grade tumors and the reduction was lesser in low grade patients after BCG therapy. But Beecken et al. found a higher VEGF level in low grade tumors. [23] This may partially be due to incorporation of muscle invasive tumors in their study. The paucity of high grade tumors in our study may justify this difference. Serum VEGF was higher in low grade TCC before BCG therapy than in high grade TCC. This finding is in accordance with Beecken's study. Serum VEGF level after BCG therapy was related to tumor grade. This has not been mentioned in previous studies. [21],[22] As high grade is related to recurrence and progression of tumor, we can assume that lower serum VEGF after BCG therapy predicts recurrence and progression of NMI bladder tumor. But Santos et al. found a reverse relationship between tumor recurrence and serum VEGF level. [25]

This study revealed no relationship between tumor stage and VEGF level but some studies have reported such a relationship. [26]

This study investigated the relationship between VEGF level in urine and serum before and after BCG therapy. In two previous studies, such a relationship was not found. [21],[22] This study differs from previous studies in that urine and serum VEGF were assessed simultaneously in this study. This study, as other earlier studies, suggests that BCG mechanism may be through pathways other than VEGF pathways. But this theory awaits other studies to be confirmed.

If BCG mechanism for angiogenesis inhibition does not include VEGF as confirmed in this study, VEGF can be a therapeutic target in NMI bladder TCC.

This hypothesis has been examined in different studies. Rocchetti et al. showed that anti-VEGF drugs have a potential benefit in bladder tumors that express VEGF. [27] However, anti-VEGF drugs in bladder tumor therapy are considered investigational yet.

Although intravesical BCG is effective in NMI bladder tumor, and reduces recurrence and progression, [3] its complications are problematic. Different studies have tried to reduce BCG dose to decrease its complications, while maintaining its efficacy. [28],[29] In spite of its complications, intravescial BCG has remained as the first line therapy in high grade tumors.

Intravesical anti-VEGF drugs may open a new window in the treatment of NMI TCC. It can be administered in conjunction with intravesical BCG to reduce its dosage and may substitute BCG in specific groups.


   Conclusion Top


Although intravesical BCG possesses anti-angiogenic activity, it seems that it exerts some effects through pathways other than VEGF (especially in low grade tumors). Hence, intravesical anti-VEGF drugs may have a potential role in adjuvant therapy of NMI TCC, which might reduce BCG complications.


   Acknowledgment Top


The authors would like to thank Mrs. Tooran Makhdoumi for editing this paper.

 
   References Top

1.Jemal A, Murray T, Ward E, Samuels A, Tiwari RC, Ghafoor A, et al. Cancer statistics, 2005. CA Cancer J Clin 2005;55:10-30.  Back to cited text no. 1      
2.Ro JY, Staerkel GA, Ayala AG. Cytologic and histologic features of superficial bladder cancer. Urol Clin North Am 1992;19:435-53.  Back to cited text no. 2      
3.Brandau S, Suttmann H. Thirty years of BCG immunotherapy for non-muscle invasive bladder cancer: a success story with room for improvement. Biomed Pharmacother 2007;61:299-305.  Back to cited text no. 3      
4.D'Auria G, Ciprotti M, Conte D, Iacovelli R, Palazzo A, Pellegrino A, et al. Neo-adjuvant and adjuvant chemotherapy in bladder cancer. Ann Oncol 2007;18:vi162-3.  Back to cited text no. 4      
5.Parekh DJ, Bochner BH, Dalbagni G. Superficial and muscle-invasive bladder cancer: principles of management for outcomes assessments. J Clin Oncol 2006;24:5519-27.  Back to cited text no. 5      
6.Demkow T, Alter A, Wiechno P. Intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guιrin therapy for T1 superficial bladder cancer. Urol Int 2008;80:74-9.   Back to cited text no. 6      
7.Singh S, Sadanandam A, Singh RK. Chemokines in tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. Cancer Metastasis Rev 2007;26:453-67.   Back to cited text no. 7      
8.Kirstein MN, Moore MM, Dudek AZ. Review of selected patents for cancer therapy targeting tumor angiogenesis. Recent Patents Anticancer Drug Discov 2006;1:153-61.   Back to cited text no. 8      
9.Shchors K, Evan G. Tumor angiogenesis: cause or consequence of cancer? Cancer Res 2007;67:7059-61.  Back to cited text no. 9      
10.Pradeep CR, Sunila ES, Kuttan G. Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and VEGF receptors in tumor angiogenesis and malignancies. Integr Cancer Ther 2005;4:315-21.  Back to cited text no. 10      
11.Staehler M, Rohrmann K, Haseke N, Stief CG, Siebels M. Targeted agents for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma. Curr Drug Targets 2005;6:835-46.  Back to cited text no. 11      
12.Eissa S, Salem AM, Zohny SF, Hegazy MG. The diagnostic efficacy of urinary TGF-beta1 and VEGF in bladder cancer: comparison with voided urine cytology. Cancer Biomark 2007;3:275-85.  Back to cited text no. 12      
13.Bian W, Xu Z. Combined assay of CYFRA21-1, telomerase and vascular endothelial growth factor in the detection of bladder transitional cell carcinoma. Int J Urol 2007;14:108-11.  Back to cited text no. 13      
14.De Luca A, Carotenuto A, Rachiglio A, Gallo M, Maiello MR, Aldinucci D, et al. The role of the EGFR signaling in tumor microenvironment. J Cell Physiol 2008;214:559-67.  Back to cited text no. 14      
15.Hung H. Bevacizumab plus 5-fluorouracil induce growth suppression in the CWR-22 and CWR-22R prostate cancer xenografts. Mol Cancer Ther 2007;6:2149-57.   Back to cited text no. 15      
16.Escudier B, Pluzanska A, Koralewski P, Ravaud A, Bracarda S, Szczylik C. Bevacizumab plus interferon alfa-2a for treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma: a randomised, double-blind phase III trial. Lancet 2007;370:2103-11.   Back to cited text no. 16      
17.Bukowski RM, Kabbinavar FF, Figlin RA, Flaherty K, Srinivas S, Vaishampayan U. Randomized phase II study of erlotinib combined with bevacizumab compared with bevacizumab alone in metastatic renal cell cancer. J Clin Oncol 2007;25:4536-41.   Back to cited text no. 17      
18.Tol J, Koopman M, Rodenburg CJ, Cats A, Creemers GJ, Schrama JG. A randomised phase III study on capecitabine, oxaliplatin and bevacizumab with or without cetuximab in first-line advanced colorectal cancer, the CAIRO2 study of the Dutch Colorectal Cancer Group (DCCG). An interim analysis of toxicity. Ann Oncol 2008;19:734-8.  Back to cited text no. 18      
19.Iaffaioli RV, Milano A, Caponigro F. Therapy of metastatic bladder carcinoma. Ann Oncol 2007;18:vi153-6.  Back to cited text no. 19      
20.Saban MR, O'Donnell MA, Hurst RE, Wu XR, Simpson C, Dozmorov I, et al. Molecular networks discriminating mouse bladder responses to intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), LPS, and TNF-alpha. BMC Immunol 2008;9:4.  Back to cited text no. 20      
21.Morgan BE, Salup R, Morgan MB. Differential C-erbB-2 and VEGF expression following BCG immunotherapy in superficial papillary transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder. Urol Oncol 2002;7:67-72.   Back to cited text no. 21      
22.Pavlovich CP, Krδling BM, Stewart RJ, Chen X, Bochner BH, Luster AD, et al. BCG-induced urinary cytokines inhibit microvascular endothelial cell proliferation. J Urol 2000;163:2014-21.   Back to cited text no. 22      
23.Beecken W, Engl T, Hofmann J, Jonas D, Blaheta R. Clinical relevance of serum angiogenic activity in patientswith transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder. J Cell Mol Med 2005;9:655-61.  Back to cited text no. 23      
24.Theodoropoulos VE, Lazaris AC, Sofras F, Gerzelis I, Tsoukala V, Ghikonti I, et al. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha expression correlates with angiogenesis and unfavorable prognosis in bladder cancer. Eur Urol 2004;46:200-8.   Back to cited text no. 24      
25.Santos L, Costa C, Pereira S, Koch M, Amaro T, Cardoso F, et al. Neovascularisation is a prognostic factor of early recurrence in T1/G2 urothelial bladder tumours. Ann Oncol 2003;14:1419-24.   Back to cited text no. 25      
26.Yang CC, Chu KC, Yeh WM. The expression of vascular endothelial growth factor in transitional cell carcinoma of urinary bladder is correlated with cancer progression. Urol Oncol 2004;22:1-6.   Back to cited text no. 26      
27.Rocchetti R, Talevi S, Margiotta C, Calza R, Corallini A, Possati L. Antiangiogenic drugs for chemotherapy of bladder tumours. Chemotherapy 2005;51:291-9.  Back to cited text no. 27      
28.Ojea A, Nogueira JL, Solsona E, Flores N, Gσmez JM, Molina JR, et al. A multicentre, randomised prospective trial comparing three intravesical adjuvant therapies for intermediate-risk superficial bladder cancer: low-dose bacillus Calmette-Guerin (27 mg) versus very low-dose bacillus Calmette-Guerin (13.5 mg) versus mitomycin C. Eur Urol 2007;52:1398-406.  Back to cited text no. 28      
29.Witjes JA. What is the optimal BCG dose in non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer? Eur Urol 2007;52:1300-2.  Back to cited text no. 29      



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]



 

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