FGFR3 Mutation Status and FGFR3 Expression in a Large Bladder Cancer Cohort Treated by Radical Cystectomy: Implications for Anti-FGFR3 Treatment?

Bas W.G. van Rhijn*, Laura S. Mertens, Roman Mayr, Peter J. Bostrom, Francisco X. Real, Ellen C. Zwarthoff, Joost L. Boormans, Cheno Abas, Geert J.L.H. van Leenders, Stefanie Götz, Katrin Hippe, Simone Bertz, Yann Neuzillet, Joyce Sanders, Annegien Broeks, Michiel S. van der Heijden, Michael A.S. Jewett, Mirari Marquez, Robert Stoehr, Alexandre R. ZlottaMarkus Eckstein, Yanish Soorojebally, Hossain Roshani, Maximilian Burger, Wolfgang Otto, François Radvanyi, Nanor Sirab, Damien Pouessel, Bernd Wullich, Theo H. van der Kwast, Núria Malats, Arndt Hartmann, Yves Allory, Tahlita C.M. Zuiverloon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) is an actionable target in bladder cancer (BC). FGFR3 mutations are common in noninvasive BC and associated with favorable BC prognosis. Overexpression was reported in up to 40% of FGFR3 wild-type muscle-invasive BC. We analyzed FGFR3 mutations, FGFR3, and p53 protein expression and assessed their prognostic value in a cohort of 1000 chemotherapy-naive radical cystectomy specimens. FGFR3 mutations were found in 11%, FGFR3 overexpression was found in 28%, and p53 overexpression was found in 69% of tumors. Among FGFR3 mutant tumors, 73% had FGFR3 overexpression versus 22% among FGFR3 wild-type tumors. FGFR3 mutations were significantly associated with lower pT stage, tumor grade, absence of carcinoma in situ, pN0, low-level p53, and longer disease-specific survival (DSS). FGFR3 overexpression was associated only with lower pT stage and tumor grade. Moreover, FGFR3 overexpression was not associated with DSS in patients with FGFR3 wild-type tumors. In conclusion, FGFR3 mutations identified patients with favorable BC at cystectomy. Our results suggest that FGFR3 mutations have a driver role and are functionally distinct from FGFR3 overexpression. Hence, patients with FGFR3 mutations would be more likely to benefit from anti-FGFR3 therapy. Ideally, further research is needed to test this hypothesis. Patient summary: Oncogenic fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) mutations are very common in bladder cancer. In this report, we found that these FGFR3 mutations were associated with favorable features and prognosis of bladder cancer compared with patients with FGFR3 overexpressed tumors only. As a consequence, patients with FGFR3 mutant tumors would be more likely to benefit from anti-FGFR3 therapy than patients with FGFR3 protein overexpression only.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682-687
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Urology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

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