Proctor I, Stoeber K & Williams G H
(2010) Histopathology 57, 1–13
Biomarkers in bladder cancer
Cancer biomarkers provide an opportunity to diagnose tumours earlier and with greater accuracy. They can also identify those patients most at risk of disease recurrence and predict which tumours will respond to different therapeutic approaches. Such biomarkers will be especially useful in the diagnosis and management of bladder cancer. At present, bladder tumours are diagnosed and followed-up using a combination of cystoscopic examination, cytology and histology. These are not only expensive, but also highly subjective investigations and reveal little about the underlying molecular characteristics of the tumour. In recent years numerous diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers of bladder cancer have been identified. Two separate approaches to biomarker discovery have been employed. The first is hypothesis-driven and focuses upon proteins involved in molecular pathways known to be implicated in tumorigenesis. An alternative approach has been to study the global expression of genes (so-called ‘genomics’) looking for characteristic signatures associated with disease outcomes. In this review we summarize the current state of biomarker development in this field, and examine why so few have made the successful transition into the clinic. Finally, we introduce a novel approach to biomarker development utilizing components of the DNA replication licensing machinery.