Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute in Pittsburgh, Pa, reported that they have found the first marker for bladder cancer.
The marker, called BLCA-4, is a tissue matrix protein found inside the nucleus of bladder cancer cells. The researchers said they detected BLCA-4 in 75% of bladder cancer samples studied, in 100% of noncancerous tissue from bladders that contained tumors, and in none of normal bladders from organ donors.
"Our results indicate that BLCA-4 appears in tissue before it becomes cancerous," said Robert Getzenberg, PhD, director of basic research at the institute's Prostate and Urologic Cancer Center. Because the marker is easily isolated from the urine, Getzenberg said BLCA-4 detection is an easy, effective method of finding people who are at risk of bladder cancer or have an early stage of disease.