Intravesical instillation of bacillus Calmette Guérin (BCG) for the treatment of urothelial carcinoma (UC) of the bladder is based on the BCG-induced immune response, which eradicates and prevents bladder cancer. The results of recent studies have suggested that not only major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-nonrestricted immune cells such as natural killer cells, macrophages, neutrophils, etc., but also MHC-restricted CD8+ T cells play an important role and are one of the main effectors in this therapy. Better understanding of the mechanism of BCG immunotherapy supports the idea that active immunotherapy through its augmented T cell response can have great potential for the treatment of advanced UC. In this review, progress in immunotherapy for UC is discussed based on data from basic, translational and clinical studies. We also review the escape mechanism of cancer cells from the immune system, and down-regulation of MHC class I molecules
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