GE Healthcare, a division of General Electric Company has the launch of a new standard for early diagnosis of urinary bladder cancer through a new diagnostic agent called Hexvix (hexaminolevulinate) at the 9th Asian Congress of Urology held in New Delhi, India.

“Early and accurate detection is the key to save lives in any disease conditions, especially killer diseases like cancer.  GE Healthcare is committed to usher in Early Health in India.  GE Healthcare’s Hexvix is a proven early detection agent for Bladder Cancer and we are happy to introduce this in India” said Mr Sarvadeep Sachdev, Director, Medical Diagnostics Division, GE Healthcare South Asia.

The release noted that two multicenter phase III studies leading to the approval of Hexvix as a diagnostic tool were conducted in Europe. The trials including 146 and 211 patients respectively demonstrated the efficacy of the new technique. Both studies revealed that Hexvix cystoscopy identified more patients with CIS bladder lesions than white light cystoscopy, which is commonly used. In addition, Jocham et al indicated that 1 in 5 patients may receive more appropriate treatment through the use of Hexvix fluorescence cystoscopy.

A recent phase III study, involving 789-patients, compared Hexvix with standard white-light cystoscopy, and found that Hexvix was significantly better at detecting non-invasive bladder cancer. Recurrence of bladder cancer nine months after the initial procedure was also significantly reduced in the Hexvix group.

Since 2006, more than 500 institutions have adopted this technique throughout Europe, where Hexvix is already available, because better margin detection and more lesions being detected result in overall better transurethral resections of the bladder.

Bladder cancer forms 4.7% of all the cancers in the body in India and is the second most common genito-urinary cancer as per the Delhi Cancer Registry 2002.  This could be only a tip of the iceberg as cancer incidence in India is largely unknown as the registries are covered in urban centres only.  In the Western world urinary bladder cancer is the fourth most common form of cancer in men, with an estimated 47,010 new cases diagnosed in 2005 in the US and 7,250 new cases diagnosed in 2002 in the UK. While it is often regarded as a “men’s condition” – affecting 3-4 times more men – its prevalence in women must not be underestimated.