What is immunotherapy?

Immunotherapies are treatments that use the immune system to find and attack cancer cells.


BCG is an immunotherapy drug that is sometimes given directly into the ureter after laser treatment or some types of surgery. It is only suitable for non-invasive cancers.

BCG can help prevent the cancer from coming back. It can also reduce the risk of the cancer becoming invasive.

Checkpoint inhibitors

Immunotherapy drugs called checkpoint inhibitors are sometimes used to treat ureter and renal pelvis cancers that have spread (locally advanced or metastatic cancer). They are used if the cancer continues to grow or if it comes back after chemotherapy containing a platinum-based drug, such as cisplatin. It may also be used if cisplatin is not suitable.

The most commonly used checkpoint inhibitors are:

Both pembrolizumab and atezolizumab are given by drip (infusion) into a vein once every 3 weeks.

The side effects are usually mild and include: 

Your cancer doctor or specialist nurse will give you more information about these drugs.

Your cancer doctor can tell you if pembrolizumab or atezolizumab are appropriate for you. If a drug is not routinely available on the NHS, your doctor can give you advice on whether there are any other ways to get it.

You can also call our cancer support specialists free on 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm.

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