UHRF1 is a novel molecular marker for diagnosis and the prognosis of bladder cancer

Br J Cancer. 2009 Jul 7;101(1):98-105. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605123. Epub 2009 Jun 2.


Background: Bladder cancer is the second most common cancer of the urinary system. Early diagnosis of this tumour and estimation of risk of future progression after initial transuretherial resection have a significant impact on prognosis. Although there are several molecular markers for the diagnosis and prognosis for this tumour, their accuracy is not ideal. Previous reports have shown that UHRF1 (ubiquitin-like with PHD and ring-finger domains 1) is essential for cellular proliferation. In this study, we examined whether UHRF1 can be a novel molecular marker of bladder cancer.

Methods: We performed real-time TaqMan quantitative reverse transcription-PCR and immunohistochemistry to examine expression levels of UHRF1 in bladder and kidney cancers.

Results: Significant overexpression of UHRF1 was observed in bladder cancer. The overexpression was correlated with the stage and grade of the cancer. Although UHRF1 expression in muscle-invasive cancer was greater than in non-invasive (pTa) or superficially invasive (pT1) cancers, UHRF1 could still be detected by immunohistochemistry in these early-stage cancers. Overexpression of UHRF1 in bladder cancer was associated with increased risk of progression after transurethral resection. High expression of UHRF1 in kidney cancer was also observed. But the increased levels of UHRF1 in kidney cancer were less significant compared with those in bladder cancer.

Conclusion: Our result indicates that an immunohistochemistry-based UHRF1 detection in urine sediment or surgical specimens can be a sensitive and cancer-specific diagnostic and/or prognosis method, and may greatly improve the current diagnosis based on cytology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / biosynthesis*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Kidney Neoplasms / genetics
  • Kidney Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / genetics
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • UHRF1 protein, human
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases