Molecular Genetics of Bladder Cancer: An Update

Minerva Urol Nefrol. 2008 Dec;60(4):205-16.


Urinary bladder cancer is a heterogeneous disease with tumors ranging from papillary non-invasive to solid muscle infiltrating high grade tumors. There are mainly three problems after initial management: recurrence, progression to higher stage and metastases. The respective risk is well known for each of the stages of the disease but not sufficiently for individual optimal risk assessments. The clinical need is initially to establish the correct risk irrespective of later treatment that is to find prognostic factors. Secondarily it is important to develop predictive factors for each specific therapy. With the advent of array-based molecular profiling it is possible to obtain a more complete picture of the cancer biology and thus hope to improve the prediction of risk. Today the microarray approach is implemented at DNA, RNA and protein level. Reported chromosomal alterations in low-grade papillary tumors are few and the most common are 9q and 9p deletions. Activation of the MAPK pathway through mutations of FGFR3, RAS or PI3K seems to be crucial in the genesis of these low malignant tumors. Muscle infiltrating bladder tumors typically have more genetic aberrations than non-muscle invasive cancers. Key genes are related to the p53 and RB pathways. Gene-expression signatures correlated to stage, CIS, progression and recurrence have been proposed but require further validation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Genes, ras
  • Genetic Markers*
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Karyotyping
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases / genetics
  • Mutation*
  • Prognosis
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 3 / genetics
  • Risk Assessment
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / genetics*


  • Genetic Markers
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 3
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases