Purpose: We have previously reported that high urinary levels of soluble E-cadherin (sE-cadherin) are associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer. We determined whether plasma levels of sE-cadherin are associated with bladder cancer stage and prognosis.
Materials and methods: The study group consisted of 50 patients who underwent radical cystectomy for muscle invasive cancer or intravesical therapy refractory Tis, Ta, or T1 bladder cancer; and 40 men without cancer. Preoperative plasma levels of sE-cadherin were measured using a commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit.
Results: Plasma sE-cadherin was higher in patients with bladder cancer than in healthy subjects (p <0.0001) and it was elevated in patients with metastases to regional and distant lymph nodes (p = 0.019 and 0.024, respectively). When adjusted for the effects of clinical stage and grade, preoperative sE-cadherin was independently associated with metastases to regional lymph nodes (p = 0.028) and disease progression (p = 0.006) but not with bladder cancer mortality. In postoperative models preoperative sE-cadherin and lymph node metastases were associated with disease progression (p = 0.017 and 0.042, respectively) after adjusting for the effects of pathological stage, grade and lymphovascular invasion but only lymph node metastases were associated with cancer specific mortality (p = 0.007).
Conclusions: Higher plasma sE-cadherin is associated with bladder cancer. Higher preoperative plasma sE-cadherin has the potential to identify patients with metastases to regional and distant lymph nodes who are at increased risk for failure of local therapy with curative intent. These patients may benefit from more extensive lymph node dissection and/or combined modality treatment regimens.