Research Highlight

Biomarkers for detecting bladder cancer

doi:10.1038/nindia.2014.85 Published online 24 June 2014

Researchers have identified serum proteins that could be used as biomarkers for detecting urinary bladder cancer1. These marker proteins are potentially useful for screening and grading of bladder cancers.

Most bladder cancers originate in the inner lining of the urinary bladder, which stores urine. In low-grade bladder cancer, cancer cells grow slowly and stay in the lining of the bladder, whereas in high-grade bladder cancer, cancer cells spread rapidly to the bladder muscle and can return even after treatment. Current diagnostic techniques can detect bladder cancer and distinguish between its low-grade and high-grade varieties by analysing urine and inserting an endoscope through the urethra.

To develop a simple and low-invasive diagnostic method, the researchers collected serum samples from bladder cancer patients and healthy individuals. They then analysed the serum samples using a sophisticated spectroscopic technique to detect abnormal proteins.

The researchers detected five aberrant proteins, and of these they identified two as marker proteins that are linked to bladder cancers. Using these two marker proteins, the researchers were able to distinguish samples of patients with high- and low-grade bladder cancers from those of healthy individuals with an accuracy of 81%.

Using a different combination of two marker proteins, the researchers could precisely screen low-grade bladder cancer cases from high-grade ones with an accuracy of 92%.


1. Bansal, N. et al. Low- and high-grade bladder cancer appraisal via serum-based proteomics approach. Clin. Chim. Acta. 436, 97–103 (2014)