Immunotherapy has been used in the treatment of localised, high-risk transitional cell carcinoma. Bacillus of Calmette-Guérin therapy is a standard treatment for patients with non-invasive transitional cell carcinoma with bad prognostic factors (high-grade pTa; carcinoma in situ) and early stage invasive bladder cancer (pT1) after transurethral resection of the bladder. Recently, based on phase II trials, atezolizumab, an inhibitor of PD-L1, and nivolumab, an inhibitor of PD1, have been registered for the treatment of patients with metastatic transitional cell carcinoma progressing after a platinum-based chemotherapy for metastatic disease. Pembrolizumab, a monoclonal antibody against programmed death receptor-1 was registered based on a phase III trial in this setting resulting in a survival benefit compared to second-line chemotherapy. Predictive markers are being explored for a better patient selection for the treatment of transitional cell carcinoma.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2018;12(5):218–222)