Korean J Urol Oncol.  2019 Aug;17(2):88-95. 10.22465/kjuo.2019.17.2.88.

Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG)-Cell Wall Skeleton as Immunotherapeutic Option for BCG-Refractory Superficial Bladder Cancer

  • 1Department of Urology, Chung-Ang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. caucih@cau.ac.kr
  • 2College of Pharmacy, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea.


Although intravesical instillation of Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is the most successful cancer immunotherapy for superficial bladder cancer, the serious side effects are frequently arisen by using live mycobacteria. To allow less toxic and more potent immunotherapeutic agents following intravesical BCG treatment for superficial bladder cancer, noninfectious immunotherapeutic drug instead of live BCG would be highly desirable. Recently, immune-enhancing adjuvants are considered an effective vaccine immunotherapy for cancer, providing enhanced antitumor effects and boosted immunity. The BCG-cell wall skeleton (BCG-CWS), the main immune active center of BCG, is a potent candidate as a noninfectious immunotherapeutic drug instead of live BCG against bladder cancer. However, the most limited application for anticancer therapy, it is difficult to formulate a water-soluble BCG-CWS due to the aggregation of BCG-CWS in both aqueous and nonaqueous solvents. To overcome the insolubility and improve the internalization of BCG-CWS into bladder cancer cells, it should be developed the lipid nanoparticulation of BCG-CWS, resulting in improved dispensability, stability, and small size. In addition, powerful technology of delivery systems should be applied to enhance the internalization of BCG-CWS, such as encapsulated into lipid nanoparticles using novel packaging methods. Here, we describe the progress in research on effects of BCG-CWS for cancer immunotherapy, development of lipid-based solvent, and packaging method using nanoparticles with drug delivery system.


Bacillus Calmette-Guérin; Cell wall skeleton; Bladder cancer; Adjuvant immunotherapy; Drug delivery system

MeSH Terms

Administration, Intravesical
Cell Wall Skeleton
Drug Delivery Systems
Mycobacterium bovis
Product Packaging
Urinary Bladder Neoplasms*
Urinary Bladder*
Cell Wall Skeleton
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