Molecular footprints of muscle-invasive bladder cancer in smoking and nonsmoking patients

Urol Oncol. 2019 Nov;37(11):818-825. doi: 10.1016/j.urolonc.2018.09.017. Epub 2018 Nov 13.


Background: Bladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the United States and smoking is the largest known risk factor. Tobacco-derived carcinogens may induce the accumulation of somatic mutations in urothelial cells, and likely promote tumorigenesis. However, it is still unknown whether smoking-induced bladder carcinogenesis results in tumors with distinctive molecular features that can be therapeutically exploited.

Methods: We investigated the genomic alterations of human bladder cancer and examined their association with patient smoking history. We performed bioinformatic analyses and looked at differences in gene expression, somatic mutations, and DNA mutational signatures comparing nonsmokers, reformed smokers, and current smokers.

Results: We detected a limited set of gene expression and gene mutation differences between smokers and nonsmokers. We also identified a specific mutational signature that is enriched in tumors from smokers. This mutational signature was described before and has been linked to specific DNA repair defects in human bladder tumors, as well as to the direct effect of nitrosamine carcinogens in the BBN murine model of bladder cancer.

Conclusion: We showed associations between smoking status and selected mutational signatures, which could provide insights in the biology of bladder carcinogenesis and tumor progression.

Keywords: APOBEC mutagenesis; BBN mouse model; Bladder cancer; Cancer genome; Mutational signatures; Smoking-related carcinogenesis.

MeSH terms

  • APOBEC Deaminases / analysis
  • APOBEC Deaminases / genetics
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Carcinogenesis / chemically induced*
  • Carcinogenesis / genetics
  • Carcinogens / toxicity
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation Rate
  • Nicotiana / toxicity*
  • Non-Smokers / statistics & numerical data
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / analysis
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism
  • Receptors, Peptide / analysis
  • Receptors, Peptide / metabolism
  • Smokers / statistics & numerical data
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects
  • Urinary Bladder / drug effects
  • Urinary Bladder / pathology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / etiology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / mortality
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Urothelium / drug effects
  • Urothelium / pathology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Carcinogens
  • GPR15 protein, human
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Receptors, Peptide
  • APOBEC Deaminases