Study protocol of a phase II clinical trial of oral metformin for the intravesical treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer
BMC Cancer , Article number: 191133 (2019)
Non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) is the most common neoplasm of the urinary tract and requires life-long invasive surveillance to detect disease recurrence. Currently, there are no effective oral therapies that delay disease recurrence or progression. We recently demonstrated that in mice, metformin accumulates unchanged in the urine. Urothelial cells are exposed to metformin concentrations ~ 240-fold higher than in serum. This was effective in the treatment of mouse bladder cancer models.
We describe the protocol of a multi-centre, open-label, phase II clinical trial of metformin in up to 49 evaluable patients with intermediate-risk NMIBC with the aim to determine the overall response to administration of oral metformin for 3 months on a marker tumour deliberately left following transurethral resection of multiple, papillary NMIBC tumours. All patients will receive metformin orally at doses up to 3000 mg per day. Metformin treatment will start within 2 weeks following transurethral resection of all tumours except one marker lesion. After 3 months of metformin treatment, the effect of metformin on the marker lesion is evaluated by cystoscopy and biopsy under anaesthesia. Residual tumour, if present at this evaluation, will be resected. In case of complete disappearance of the marker lesion, the former tumour area will be biopsied. The primary outcome is the complete response rate of the marker lesion, as determined by decentralised scoring of pre- and post-treatment cystoscopy images by expert independent urologists. Secondary outcomes are the partial response rate, overall safety of metformin and the duration of the time to recurrence.
Preclinical studies show the potential role of oral metformin treatment in the management of NMIBC. It could offer an alternative to current adjuvant intravesical treatment. If positive, the reported results of this study could warrant further phase III trials to compare the efficacy of metformin against current treatments of intravesical installations with chemotherapy or Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG).
This trial is registered in ClinicalTrials.gov under NCT03379909.