Cancer immunotherapy: new applications in urologic oncology

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Purpose of review

Over the last 10 years, harnessing of the immune system to attack tumors has been one of the major breakthroughs in cancer, primarily through the use of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). This review will summarize current immune treatments in urologic malignancies and ongoing trials with novel combinations and in different disease settings.

Recent findings

Patients with urologic malignancies such as kidney and bladder cancer have benefited significantly from these advances with the approval of ICIs in both of these diseases. In addition, older immune therapies have also been used in these malignancies. For example, kidney cancers, which are traditionally unresponsive to chemotherapy, can respond to immune activation by cytokines. Prostate cancers, too, have immune therapies, such as sipuleucel-T, a dendritic cell vaccine. Combining ICIs with these older treatments as well as with molecularly targeted therapies and chemotherapies are currently underway.


The ICIs have changed the way urologic malignancies are treated and newer combinations are likely to alter the therapeutic landscape in these diseases dramatically in the coming years.

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