According to an early, online article published recently?in the Lancet Oncology, specific patterns of proteins (polypeptides) that are voided in a urine sample provide high accuracy in detecting bladder cancer.

Bladder cancer is diagnosed in 55,000-60,000 individuals annually in the U.S. If detected and treated early, prior to spread, cure rates are high following standard treatment. Cure rates fall dramatically, however, once the cancer has spread from the bladder. Therefore, it is crucial to establish and implement screening measures that can accurately detect bladder cancer in its earliest stages.

Researchers from the U.S. and Europe conducted a clinical trial to evaluate use of specific proteins in voided urine samples as indicators of bladder cancer. The study included patients diagnosed with bladder cancer as well as individuals without bladder cancer. This trial included 31 patients with urothelial bladder cancer (the most common type of bladder cancer), 11 individuals who were healthy, and 138 patients with diseases other than cancer that affected the urinary system.

  • Based on the presence of the specific proteins, 100% of individuals with bladder cancer were correctly identified and 100% of the healthy individuals were correctly identified.
  • Based on the presence of the specific proteins, accurate identification of individuals with bladder cancer compared to individuals who had non-cancerous diseases of the urinary system occurred in 86 of the samples.

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The researchers concluded that, although this specific screening procedure needs further study to validate these findings, the accuracy of this test, as well as its non-invasive nature, appears promising in the early detection of bladder cancer.

Patients who are at a high risk of developing bladder cancer may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of participating in a clinical trial further evaluating screening measures for the early detection of their cancer. Sources of information regarding ongoing clinical trials include the National Cancer Institute (

Reference: Theodorescu D, Wittke S, Ross M, et al. Discovery and Validation of New Protein Biomarkers for Urothelial Cancer: A Prospective Analysis. Lancet Oncology. Early Online Publication. February 2006. DOI: :10.1016/S1470-2045(06)70584-8.