Purpose of review: Bladder cancer is one of the most common genitourinary malignancies and is a potentially life-threatening diagnosis. For many patients, however, the diagnosis of bladder cancer entails a lifetime of vigilant, costly, and invasive surveillance for recurrent and/or progressive disease. In the context of relative limitations of the current standard of cystoscopy and cytology, there has been burgeoning activity in the development of novel molecular urine-based markers for bladder cancer detection.
Recent findings: A large number of candidate bladder cancer biomarkers have emerged as our understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of the disease has evolved. Many of these are in the relatively earlier phases of development but several have received the approval of the United States Food and Drug Administration for clinical use and are already being applied to patients in clinical practice.
Summary: Urine-based markers for bladder cancer detection represent an area of substantial innovation and discovery with potentially profound scientific, clinical, and economic implications. As more of these tests become standardized and undergo evaluation in large multicenter trials, it is conceivable that a novel marker or panel of markers will emerge as a major enhancement to the current standard of care.