Objectives: Apoptosis (programmed cell death) and the genes regulating this process (e.g., Bcl-2) have recently become a focus of interest in the study of cancer development and progression. The bcl-2 gene product plays a role as an inhibitor of apoptosis; it contributes to oncogenesis by suppressing signals that induce apoptotic cell death. The aim of this study was to determine the expression of bcl-2 in schistosomal bladder cancer and to compare it with the established clinicopathological factors.
Methods: Tumor tissues from 118 patients with bladder cancer were examined [57 with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and the remaining 61 with transitional cell carcinoma (TCC)]. Of 118 patients, 60 had schistosomiasis associated with bladder cancer. Bcl-2 expression was determined by enzyme immunoassay and the results were confirmed by Western blot and immunodot blot techniques.
Results: Bcl-2 was significantly expressed in SCC compared to those with TCC type in the presence of schistosomiasis. Moreover, bcl-2 was associated with clinical stages and lymph node involvement but not with histological grades.
Conclusions: These observations detect a potential role for bcl-2 expression in schistosomal carcinogenesis, and hence selecting patients for future anti-bcl-2 therapy.