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UW Carbone
Cancer Center

Bladder Cancer


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MADISON - Bladder cancer, one of the most common forms of cancer, is also one of the least understood, with relatively few treatment options in the metastatic setting.


Two UW Carbone Cancer Center researchers, medical oncologist Jeremy Cetnar, MD and urologic surgeon Tracy Downs, MD, are interested in optimizing management of both superficial disease and metastatic disease. 
According to Dr. Cetnar, approximately 70 percent of patients present with a superficial form of the disease and are treated with local surgery to remove the tumor and potentially with chemotherapy instilled directly into the bladder. However, roughly 15 percent of these patients will progress to a more invasive form of the disease which is capable of spreading to other organs.


Dr. Cetnar and Dr. Downs believe there is significant opportunity to improve the outcomes of patients with superficial disease through the use of novel compounds or the combination of drugs. Currently, they offer a clinical trial which explores the use of immune-based therapy in those with high risk superficial tumors who have progressed despite conventional therapies.



The close collaboration between Dr. Downs and Dr. Cetnar is an integral part of their research efforts to identify which patients will benefit most from chemotherapy administered before (neo-adjuvant) removal of the bladder. By analyzing tissue collected at the time of surgery and correlating it with clinical factors, they hope to identify predictive biomarkers.

For more information about their research, physicians can contact Dr. Cetnar at or Dr. Downs at or through Cancer Connect at 1-800-622-8922.