Objective: To investigate the role of urinary measurements of an angiogenic factor, basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), in the assessment of patients with bladder cancer.
Patients and methods: Urine from 83 patients was assayed using a commercially available ELISA for bFGF. Thirty-eight patients had a bladder tumour and 21 had a history of bladder cancer but no disease at the time of testing. Twenty-four patients acted as controls, 16 of whom were about to undergo transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) for benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) and eight who had no urological disease.
Results: Median urinary bFGF was higher in patients with active bladder cancer than in those with a clear cystoscopy (5.20 and 2.13 ng/g creatinine, respectively; P < 0.005). Median urinary bFGF was also elevated in patients about to undergo TURP (4.52 ng/g creatinine). Using a threshold value of 6.0 ng/g creatinine, the sensitivity of the test for detecting cancer was 42% and specificity was 88%. At a threshold value of 4.0 ng/g the sensitivity was 62% and the specificity 70%.
Conclusion: The relationship between urinary basic FGF and the presence of bladder cancer was significant. The test is not sufficiently sensitive or specific to use as a screening test for bladder cancer but may be very useful in monitoring the effectiveness of systemic therapies in bladder cancer. Elevated levels of bFGF in the urine of patients about to undergo TURP suggests a role for bFGF in the pathogenesis of BPH.