Molecular biology of bladder cancer: new insights into pathogenesis and clinical diversity

Nat Rev Cancer. 2015 Jan;15(1):25-41. doi: 10.1038/nrc3817.


Urothelial carcinoma of the bladder comprises two long-recognized disease entities with distinct molecular features and clinical outcome. Low-grade non-muscle-invasive tumours recur frequently but rarely progress to muscle invasion, whereas muscle-invasive tumours are usually diagnosed de novo and frequently metastasize. Recent genome-wide expression and sequencing studies identify genes and pathways that are key drivers of urothelial cancer and reveal a more complex picture with multiple molecular subclasses that traverse conventional grade and stage groupings. This improved understanding of molecular features, disease pathogenesis and heterogeneity provides new opportunities for prognostic application, disease monitoring and personalized therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Carcinogenesis / genetics
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Genomic Instability
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Signal Transduction
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology
  • Urothelium / metabolism
  • Urothelium / pathology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor