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Intrinsic Molecular Subclassification of Urothelial Carcinoma of the Bladder

Are We Finally there?

Akhtar, Mohammed, MD, FCAP, FRCPA, FRCPath; Al-Bozom, Issam A., MD, FCAP; Ben Gashir, Mohamed, MBBCh, FRCPath, PhD; Taha, Noheir M., MBBCh, MD

Advances in Anatomic Pathology: July 2019 - Volume 26 - Issue 4 - p 251–256
doi: 10.1097/PAP.0000000000000235
Review Articles

Bladder cancer is a highly prevalent disease throughout the world usually encountered in older patients, and associated with substantial morbidity, mortality, and cost. The treatment of bladder cancer has remained unchanged for the last several decades. However, in recent years the availability of comprehensive genomic data from The Cancer Genome Atlas and other large projects have considerably improved our understanding of the pathogenesis of these tumors. These studies demonstrated that bladder cancers can be grouped into 2 broad categories namely basal and luminal molecular subtypes with recognizable subgroups in each of these categories. Clinical data suggest that invasive basal cancers are more sensitive to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC), such that most patients with basal cancers who are aggressively managed with NAC have excellent outcomes. Patients with luminal cancers do not appear to derive much clinical benefit from NAC, but some may appear to be sensitive to anti-programmed death-ligand 1 (PDL1) antibodies and possibly other immune checkpoint inhibitors. It is hoped that future studies will also identify biomarkers such as immunohistochemical markers which may be used to predict therapeutic response of these tumors. This will contribute substantially toward efficient and cost-effective diagnosis and management of these neoplasms.

Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

All figures can be viewed online in color at

Reprints: Mohammed Akhtar, MD, FCAP, FRCPA, FRCPath, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Hamad Medical, Corporation, P.O. Box 3050, Doha, Qatar (e-mail:

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