Hexvix Cytoscopy detects more cancer and reduces recurrence

Published: 11 June 2009

Oslo 11 June 2009: Cystoscopy with Hexvix® in blue light (fluorescence cystoscopy) helps doctors detect and remove urinary bladder cancer. A new study presented at the Nordic urology congress at Reykjavik today shows that the risk of bladder cancer recurrence for the patients is reduced.

Bladder cancer is the 4th most common cancer among men, and the 8th most common cancer among women. Every year about 120 000 people are diagnosed with urinary cancer in Europe, says Dr. Rolf Hagen, chairman of the Norwegian Urology Association (NUF).

Bladder cancer is more common in large cities and urban areas than in rural areas. Smokers have a higher risk of developing this cancer. The first symptom of bladder cancer is usually blood in the urine. The commonly used method of diagnosing bladder cancer is by white light cystoscopy

The goal of the study, involving 233 Danish patients was to see if Hexvix cystoscopy results in reduced recurrence during 12 months follow-up.

36% less recurrence

The results presented at the Nordic urology congress in Reykjavik today are very promising for the patients. An important result in the study is that Hexvix cystoscopy leads to a reduction in recurrence. While as many as 47% of the patients operated in white light alone experienced recurrence, only 31% of the patients operated with Hexvix cystoscopy experienced recurrence. Hexvix cystoscopy leads to 36% less recurrence of bladder cancer.
The study shows that in 42% of the patients, more cancer tumours were found when Hexvix® and blue light was used compared with white light alone

The Danish study confirms the results from a large international study in 789 patients from USA and Europe which was presented at the international urology congress in Stockholm in March this year.

The cancer appears in red

Hexvix cystoscopy makes the tumours appear red against a blue background, which enables the surgeons to detect cancer cells that are not visible with standard cystoscopy in white light.

  • The study confirms that fluorescence cystoscopy is better than standard white light cystoscopy when it comes to detecting cancer tumours. Bladder cancer patients now have access to a more effective diagnostic method, says Dr. Rolf Høgtveit Hagen, chairman of the Norwegian Urology Association (Norsk Urologisk Forening).

  • Cancer in the urinary bladder is very difficult to treat. Approximately 50% of the bladder cancer patients experience that the cancer returns after the first surgery, and many patients have recurrence only after a few months, and need to undergo new surgery. This can occur several times, says Dr. Rolf Høgtveit Hagen.

  • The reason for the high recurrence rate, is that the surgeon miss tumours, or doesn't completely remove them. There can be up to one billion cancer cells on one square centimetre of the urinary bladder. The study documents that fluorescence cystoscopy makes it easier to detect bladder cancer and this reduces the number of patients that get recurrence, says Dr. Rolf Høgtveit Hagen.

Bladder cancer has the highest recurrence rate of all cancer types. No other cancer has such a large number of long-time surviving patients that need regular check-ups and treatment. Bladder cancer is therefore the most expensive cancer to treat.

Currently the use of Hexvix cystoscopy is more commonly used in Denmark than in other European countries. The Danish health authorities are funding Hexvix cystoscopy, and this may therefore lead to fewer procedures, less trouble for the patients and reduced cost.

For more information, please contact:

  • Dr. Rolf Høgetveit Hagen, chairman Norsk Urologisk Forening,
    Phone: +47 906 82 269, e-mail: ho-hag@online.no

  • Kjetil Hestdal, adm.dir. Photocure,
    Phone: +47 913 19 535, e-mail: kh@photocure.no

Photocure ASA is a Norwegian pharmaceutical company listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. The company develops and sells pharmaceuticals and medical devices for the photodynamic treatment and diagnosis of cancer. Photocure has two proprietary pharmaceutical products on the market: Metvix®, for the treatment of sun-damaged skin and certain types of skin cancer, and Hexvix®, for the diagnosis of bladder cancer. In addition, the company has developed a proprietary light source, the Aktilite® lamp, which is used in combination with the Metvix cream. Through worldwide studies, Photocure is continuously testing its products for new indications, and the aim is to develop a pipeline of follow-on products and technologies.
Photocure®, Metvix®, Hexvix® and Aktilite® are registered trademarks of Photocure ASA.
Photocure ASA

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