The role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in bladder cancer progression remains an unexplored field. Expression levels of enzymes regulating ROS levels are often altered in cancer. A search of publicly available microarray data reveals that expression of mitochondrial manganese superoxide dismutase (Sod2), responsible for the conversion of superoxide (O(2)(-)) to hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)), is consistently increased in high-grade and advanced-stage bladder tumors. We aimed to identify the role of Sod2 expression and ROS in bladder cancer. Using an in vitro human bladder tumor model we monitored the redox state of both nonmetastatic (253J) and highly metastatic (253J B-V) bladder tumor cell lines. 253J B-V cells displayed significantly higher Sod2 protein and activity levels compared to their parental 253J cell line. The increase in Sod2 expression was accompanied by a significant decrease in catalase activity, resulting in a net increase in H(2)O(2) production in the 253J B-V cell line. Expression of the prometastatic and proangiogenic factors matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) and vascular endothelial-derived growth factor (VEGF), respectively, was upregulated in the metastatic line. Expression of both MMP-9 and VEGF was shown to be H(2)O(2)-dependent, as removal of H(2)O(2) by overexpression of catalase attenuated their expression. Similarly, expression of catalase effectively reduced the clonogenic activity of 253J B-V cells. These findings indicate that metastatic bladder cancer cells display an altered antioxidant expression profile, resulting in a net increase in ROS production, which leads to the induction of redox-sensitive protumorigenic and prometastatic genes such as VEGF and MMP-9.