Urinary MicroRNAs as Potential Markers for Non-Invasive Diagnosis of Bladder Cancer

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 May 27;21(11):3814. doi: 10.3390/ijms21113814.


Currently, voided urine cytology (VUC) serves as the gold standard for the detection of bladder cancer (BCa) in urine. Despite its high specificity, VUC has shortcomings in terms of sensitivity. Therefore, alternative biomarkers are being searched, which might overcome these disadvantages as a useful adjunct to VUC. The aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic potential of the urinary levels of selected microRNAs (miRs), which might represent such alternative biomarkers due to their BCa-specific expression. Expression levels of nine BCa-associated microRNAs (miR-21, -96, -125b, -126, -145, -183, -205, -210, -221) were assessed by quantitative PCR in urine sediments from 104 patients with primary BCa and 46 control subjects. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analyses revealed a diagnostic potential for miR-96, -125b, -126, -145, -183, and -221 with area under the curve (AUC) values between 0.605 and 0.772. The combination of the four best candidates resulted in sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values (NPV), and accuracy of 73.1%, 95.7%, 97.4%, 61.1%, and 80.0%, respectively. Combined with VUC, sensitivity and NPV could be increased by nearly 8%, each surpassing the performance of VUC alone. The present findings suggested a diagnostic potential of miR-125b, -145, -183, and -221 in combination with VUC for non-invasive detection of BCa in urine.

Keywords: miRNA; quantitative PCR; tumor marker; urothelial carcinoma; voided urine cytology.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / standards
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / urine*
  • Carcinoma / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma / urine*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / standards
  • MicroRNAs / urine*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / urine*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • MicroRNAs