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Bladder Cancer: A Simple Model Becomes Complex

[ Vol. 13 , Issue. 5 ]


Giovanni Battista Di Pierro, Caterina Gulia, Cristiano Cristini, Giorgio Fraietta, Lorenzo Marini, Pietro Grande, Vincenzo Gentile and Roberto Piergentili   Pages 395 - 415 ( 21 )


Bladder cancer is one of the most frequent malignancies in developed countries and it is also characterized by a high number of recurrences. Despite this, several authors in the past reported that only two altered molecular pathways may genetically explain all cases of bladder cancer: one involving the FGFR3 gene, and the other involving the TP53 gene. Mutations in any of these two genes are usually predictive of the malignancy final outcome. This cancer may also be further classified as low-grade tumors, which is always papillary and in most cases superficial, and high-grade tumors, not necessarily papillary and often invasive. This simple way of considering this pathology has strongly changed in the last few years, with the development of genome-wide studies on expression profiling and the discovery of small noncoding RNA affecting gene expression. An easy search in the OMIM (On-line Mendelian Inheritance in Man) database using “bladder cancer” as a query reveals that genes in some way connected to this pathology are approximately 150, and some authors report that altered gene expression (up- or down-regulation) in this disease may involve up to 500 coding sequences for low-grade tumors and up to 2300 for high-grade tumors. In many clinical cases, mutations inside the coding sequences of the above mentioned two genes were not found, but their expression changed; this indicates that also epigenetic modifications may play an important role in its development. Indeed, several reports were published about genomewide methylation in these neoplastic tissues, and an increasing number of small non-coding RNA are either up- or downregulated in bladder cancer, indicating that impaired gene expression may also pass through these metabolic pathways. Taken together, these data reveal that bladder cancer is far to be considered a simple model of malignancy. In the present review, we summarize recent progress in the genome-wide analysis of bladder cancer, and analyse non-genetic, genetic and epigenetic factors causing extensive gene mis-regulation in malignant cells.


Bladder carcinoma, urinary tract, NMIBC, MICB, carcinoma in situ, CIS, FGFR3, TP53, epigenetics, small noncoding RNA, environmental causes of bladder carcinoma, urinary tract, NMIBC, MICB, carcinoma in situ, CIS, FGFR3, TP53, epigenetics, small non-coding RNA


Dipartimento di Biologia e Biotecnologie, Sapienza - Universita di Roma, Italy.

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