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News From the Food and Drug Administration
June 20, 2017

Immunotherapy for Bladder Cancer

JAMA. 2017;317(23):2363. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.6976

Several weeks after approving avelumab to treat a rare form of skin cancer, the FDA authorized its use for patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer who haven’t responded to platinum-based chemotherapy.

Marketed as Bavencio, the drug was approved in March for adults and adolescents aged 12 years or older with Merkel cell cancer. Avelumab is a checkpoint inhibitor that blocks the programmed death ligand 1 protein on cancer cells from binding with its receptor, rendering the cells susceptible to attack by the immune system. The drug is administered intravenously.

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