Aarhus, Denmark (UroToday.com) Dr. Madhuri Koti of Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada presented data investigating the synergistic potential of Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) and STING pathway activators to improve the response of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer patients. The STING pathway, or “stimulator of interferon genes” pathway, plays an important role in induction of chemokines.

STING agonists were thus hypothesized to augment the response of BCG therapy. In THP-1 monocytic cells, THP-1 defNLRP3 cells, THP-1 dual STING knockout cells, RT112 bladder cancer cells, and primary bladder epithelial cells, TICE BCG was administered with or without concurrent STING agonist. Multiplex cytokine analyses were performed to determine the levels of interferon-induced cytokines post-treatment.

Dr. Koti reported that there were significantly higher levels of CXCL10 and CCL5 in THP-1 monocytic cells and primary bladder epithelial cells. Additionally, nanostring gene expression profiling found that concurrent administration of a STING agonist with BCG did in fact activate STING pathway genes in monocytes and bladder cancer cells. Dr. Koti hopes to continue her work investigating these findings in in vivo models moving forward.


Abstract take-home messages:

  • In vitro models investigating the use of concurrent administration of STING agonists with TICE BCG show promising increases in chemokine expression as well as activation of STING pathways. This may represent a novel strategy to augment the effect of BCG in select patients, pending validation in in vivo models.

Presented by: Madhuri Koti, DVM, MVSc., Ph.D. Assistant Professor, School of Medicine, Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada

Written by Dr. Vikram M. Narayan (@VikramNarayan), Urologic Oncology Fellow with Ashish M. Kamat, MD (@UroDocAsh), Professor, Department of Urology, Division of Surgery, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX at the 17th meeting of the International Bladder Cancer Network, (IBCN, #IBCN2019) October 3rd – 5th, 2019 in Aarhus, Denmark.