Genomic analysis of response to bacillus calmette-guérin (bcg) treatment in high-grade stage 1 bladder cancer patients

J. Alexa Sanders, Connor Frasier, Justin T. Matulay, Nury M. Steuerwald, Jason Zhu, Claud M. Grigg, James T. Kearns, Stephen B. Riggs, Kris E. Gaston, Cory R. Brouwer, R. Tucker Burks, Aaron L. Hartman, David M. Foureau, Earle F. Burgess, Peter E. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) therapy is standard treatment for high-risk non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) but overall efficacy is low, and no reliable predictive biomarkers currently exist to refine patient selection. We performed genomic analysis on high-grade (HG) T1 NMIBCs to determine if response to therapy is predicted by certain mutational and/or expressional changes. Methods: Patients with HG T1 NMIBC treated with induction BCG were stratified by response into durable and non-durable responders. Baseline tumor samples were subjected to targeted DNA sequencing and whole-exome RNAseq. Genomic variants differing significantly between response groups were analyzed using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) software. Variant selection was refined to target potential biomarker candidates for responsiveness to BCG. Results: Among 42 patients, the median follow-up was 51.7 months and 40.5% (n=17) were durable BCG responders. Deleterious mutations in the RNA sequence of JCHAIN, S100A7, CLEC2B, and ANXA10 were more common in non-durable responders. Mutations in MCL1 and MSH6 detected on targeted sequencing were more commonly found in durable responders. Of all deleterious DNA and RNA mutations identified, only MCL1 was significantly associated with longer recurrence free survival (RFS) (P=0.031). Conclusions: Differences in the genomic profiles of HG T1 NMIBC tumors exist between those who show durable response to BCG and those who do not. Using pathway analysis, those differences imply upregulation of several interconnected inflammatory pathways among responders. Specific variants identified here, namely MCL1, are candidates for further study and, if clinically validated, may serve as useful biomarkers in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2998-3009
Number of pages12
JournalTranslational Andrology and Urology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG)
  • Genomics
  • Intravesical therapy
  • Non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Urology


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