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Molecular markers in bladder cancer

Shariat, Shahrokh Fa; Karam, Jose Aa; Lerner, Seth Pb

doi: 10.1097/MOU.0b013e3282f1c5c1
Special commentary

Purpose of review Bladder cancer is a diverse disease whose molecular phenotypes are being elucidated. In this review, we summarize currently known molecular pathways and associated markers in bladder cancer.

Recent findings Genetic and epigenetic aberrations have been closely associated with tumor pathogenesis and prognosis. Cell cycle markers have been most extensively studied. More recently, apoptotic and angiogenic pathways are being investigated. Studying the role of multiple concurrent molecular alterations improves the prognostic ability of these markers. The use of tissue microarrays and high-throughput molecular profiling is accelerating the discovery of new markers.

Summary Molecular biology is paramount to our understanding of bladder cancer pathogenesis. The search for new markers, and elucidating cross-talk between markers in different pathways, is warranted. Molecular markers have the potential benefit of improving detection, prognosis and treatment of bladder cancer. In addition, understanding the molecular profile of the individual patient could usher us into a new era of improving prediction of the natural history of the disease and providing a more personalized and tailored treatment. Prospective trials are still needed, however, to objectively establish the true benefit of these markers in prognostic and therapeutic arenas.

aDepartment of Urology, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, USA

bScott Department of Urology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA

Correspondence to Shahrokh F. Shariat, MD, Department of Urology, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75390-9110, USA Tel: +1 469 363 8500; fax: +1 214 648 8786; e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.