Role of schistosomiasis in human bladder cancer: evidence of association, aetiological factors, and basic mechanisms of carcinogenesis

Eur J Cancer Prev. 1995 Feb;4(1):45-59. doi: 10.1097/00008469-199502000-00004.


Several epidemiological, clinical and experimental studies have been carried out to determine whether there is an aetiological role for schistosomiasis in the multi-stage process of bladder carcinogenesis. Lines of evidence supporting the association between bladder cancer and schistosomiasis include indications from the geographical correlation between the two conditions, the distinctive patterns of gender and age at diagnosis, the clinicopathological identity of schistosome-associated bladder cancer and the extensive experimental evidence in infected laboratory animals. Although the causative role of schistosomiasis is now accepted, various associated factors have been proposed in the induction of this particular type of cancer. While all may contribute to the carcinogenic process taking place in the infected bladder, none of these has yet been confirmed. Most attention has been directed at theories proposing possible roles for urinary chemical carcinogens, particularly tryptophan metabolites, N-nitroso compounds and of beta-glucuronidase, as factors that are primarily involved in the initiation of bladder carcinogenesis in areas endemic for schistosomiasis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Africa / epidemiology
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Carcinogens
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Schistosomiasis haematobia / complications*
  • Schistosomiasis haematobia / epidemiology
  • Sex Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / parasitology


  • Carcinogens