Bladder Cancer Treatment May Lower Risk for Alzheimer and Related Dementias

Greater effect seen for patients aged 70 years and older at time of bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccination

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 12, 2023 (HealthDay News) — The bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine is associated with a significantly lower rate and risk for Alzheimer disease and related dementias (ADRD) among patients with bladder cancer, according to a study published online May 19 in JAMA Network Open.

Marc S. Weinberg, M.D., Ph.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues evaluated whether the BCG vaccine (3,388 patients) has a protective association with the risk for ADRD. The analysis included 6,467 patients (aged 50 years and older) initially diagnosed with non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer between May 28, 1987, and May 6, 2021.

The researchers found that treatment with the BCG vaccine was associated with a lower rate of ADRD (hazard ratio [HR], 0.80), with an even lower rate of ADRD in patients aged 70 years or older at the time of BCG vaccine treatment (HR, 0.74). The BCG vaccine was associated with a lower risk for ADRD (five-year risk difference, −0.011) and a decreased risk for death in patients without an earlier diagnosis of ADRD (five-year risk difference, −0.056) in a competing risks analysis.

“In this study, BCG vaccine was associated with a significantly lower rate and risk of ADRD in a cohort of patients with bladder cancer when accounting for death as a competing event. However, the risk differences varied with time,” the authors write. “Clinical trials are required to study its efficacy beyond treatment in patients with bladder cancer.”

Several authors disclosed ties to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

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