Molecular Mapping of Bladder Cancer Could Lead to More Effective Treatments

Primary classes of early-stage bladder cancer have been discovered.

Molecular sub-groups were discovered in the early stages of bladder cancer during a recent study, which can lead to superior personalized treatments.

Patients who develop superficial tumors at the time of diagnosis may eventually develop new tumors. Some tumors have the potential to become aggressive, making it imperative to remove the bladder or have the patient undergo chemotherapy.

Understanding the tumor on a molecular level could prevent drastic invasive procedures. Researchers in the study, published in Cancer Cell, successfully mapped the molecular mechanisms in the early stages of bladder cancer in 460 patients.

They discovered 3 different primary classes of the cancer that have different molecular and disease-causing characteristics. In tumors from the more aggressive class, researchers found they had mutations in genes and pathways associated with later stage cancer.

In 86% of tumors, they found mutations in genes involved in genome structure regulation. Researchers believe their findings show the potential to better identify risks and treat different classes of early tumors more effectively.

"This study provides new and valuable insight into the biology of the tumors in the earliest stages of the disease. Clinical and pathological examinations of the individual tumors do not always reflect the risk of later disease aggressiveness,” researcher Lars Dyrskjøt, PhD, concluded. “This study provides a tool for risk assessment of the patients and thus for providing optimal treatment.”