Bladder tumor markers: a review of the literature.
Bladder cancer is among the top eight most frequent cancers. Its natural history is related to a combination of factors that impact on its aggressiveness. Cystoscopy and urine cytology are the currently used techniques for the diagnosis and surveillance of non-invasive bladder tumors. The sensitivity of urine cytology for diagnosis is not high, particularly in low-grade tumors. The combination of voided urine cytology and new diagnostic urine tests would be ideal for the diagnosis and follow-up of bladder cancer. However, in order to have some clinical utility, new diagnostic and/or prognostic markers should achieve better predictive capacity that the currently used diagnostic tools. None of the markers evaluated over the last years showed remarkable sensitivity or specificity for the identification of any of the diverse types of bladder cancer in clinical practice. The limitations of the known prognostic markers have led to the research of new molecular markers for early detection of bladder cancer. This research focused in particular on the discovery of biomarkers capable of reducing the need for periodic cystoscopies or, ideally, offering a non-invasive examination instead. In this review, we will examine various new markers of bladder cancer and their value in the diagnosis and follow-up of non-muscleinvasive bladder cancer. When compared with urine cytology, which showed the highest specificity, most of these markers demonstrated an increased sensitivity.