Urinary Marker May be Useful for Bladder Cancer Screening

NEW YORK JUN 27, 2005 (Reuters Health) - Urine levels of the nuclear protein BLCA-1 can be used to detect bladder cancer, investigators report. "This assay," they say, "may be clinically useful for increasing the sensitivity of bladder cancer detection and, as a result, lead to increased survival in patients with bladder cancer."

Two currently available urine-based tests for bladder cancer (NMP22 and bladder tumor antigen tests) are limited by their somewhat poor sensitivity and specificity, the authors explain in the July issue of The Journal of Urology, and cystoscopy and cytology remain the current standard for bladder cancer detection.

Dr. Robert H. Getzenberg from University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and colleagues previously identified five nuclear structural proteins (BLCAs) that are apparently specific to bladder cancer.

The team investigated BLCA-1 levels in bladder tissue and urine from 25 patients with bladder cancer, 18 patients without urological abnormalities, 20 patients with other cancers, and 8 patients with spinal cord injury.

BLCA-1 was present in bladder tumor tissue, the researchers report, but not in adjacent normal tissue or in tissue from normal organ donors.