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A Journal on Nephrology and Urology

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Minerva Urologica e Nefrologica 2008 December;60(4):247-53

language: English

Screening for bladder cancer using urine-based tumor markers

Svatek R. S. 1, Lotan Y. 2, Karakiewizc P. I. 3, Shariat S. F. 4

1 Department of Urologic Oncology MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX, USA
2 Department of Urology University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, TX, USA
3 Department of Urology and Outcomes Research Unit University of Montreal, Montreal, QB, Canada
4 Department of Urologic Oncology MSKCC, New York, NY, USA


Bladder cancer screening differs from routine detection of bladder cancer in patients with symptoms, such as hematuria, or a history of bladder cancer. The ultimate goal of cancer screening is to decrease cancer-related mortality by detecting disease prior to the time that the disease would normally prompt evaluation from symptoms. There are several features of urothelial carcinoma of the bladder which make screening for this disease an attractive alternative to the current approach to this disease. The disease targets a defined population and survival for patients with this disease is strongly associated with disease stage at presentation. In addition, quick, easy, and painless screening tests are theoretically possible using tumor-related markers because of the direct exposure of cancer cells to urine. Indeed, recent insights into the biology of bladder cancer initiation and progression have resulted in the identification of several urine-based markers which have promise for detecting the presence of bladder cancer. Nevertheless, adoption of screening programs prior to establishing evidence of effectiveness and large-scale financial considerations has substantial damaging consequences. This article reviews the current literature regarding screening for bladder cancer using urine-based markers.

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