The primary role of immunotherapy for bladder cancer is to treat superficial transitional cell carcinomas (ie, carcinoma in situ, Ta, and T1). Immunotherapy in the form of bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), interferon, bropirimine, keyhole limpet hemocyanin, and gene therapy is intended to treat existing or residual tumor, to prevent recurrence of tumor, to prevent progression of disease, and to prolong survival of patients. Presently, BCG is commonly used and is the most effective immunotherapeutic agent against superficial transitional cell carcinoma. Data support that BCG has a positive impact on tumor recurrence, disease progression, and survival. Proper attention to maintenance schedules, route of administration, dosing, strains, and viability is essential to obtain the maximum benefits of BCG immunotherapy. This review highlights and summarizes the recent advances concerning immunotherapy, with special emphasis on BCG therapy for transitional cell carcinoma.
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