Biomarkers to assess the risk of bladder cancer in patients presenting with haematuria are gender-specific

Brian Duggan, Declan O'Rourke, Neil Anderson, Cherith N Reid, Joanne Watt, Hugh O'Kane, Ruth Boyd, David Curry, Mark Evans, Michael Stevenson, Mary Jo Kurth, John V Lamont, Peter Fitzgerald, Mark W Ruddock

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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Haematuria is a common red flag symptom of urinary tract cancer. Bladder cancer (BC) is the most common cancer to present with haematuria. Women presenting with haematuria are often underdiagnosed. Currently, no gender-specific tests are utilized in clinical practice. Considerable healthcare resources are needed to investigate causes of haematuria and this study was set up to help identify markers of BC. The aim of the study was to define biomarker algorithms in haematuria patients using an expanded panel of biomarkers to diagnose BC and investigate if the algorithms are gender-specific. A total of n=675 patients with a history of haematuria were recruited from Northern Ireland hospitals. Patients were collected on a 2:1 ratio, non-BC (control) n=474: BC n=201. A detailed clinical history, urine and blood samples were collected. Biomarkers, known to be involved in the pathobiology underlying bladder carcinogenesis were investigated. Biomarkers differentially expressed between groups were investigated using Wilcoxon rank sum and linear regression. Biomarkers were gender specific. Two biomarker-algorithms were identified to triage haematuria patients; male - u_NSE, s_PAI-1/tPA, u_midkine, u_NGAL, u_MMP-9/TIMP-1 and s_prolactin (u=urine; s=serum); sensitivity 71.8%, specificity 72.8%; AUROC 0.795; and female urine biomarkers - IL-12p70, IL-13, midkine and clusterin; sensitivity 83.7%, specificity 79.7%; AUROC 0.865. Addition of the clinical variable infection to both algorithms increased both AUROC to 0.822 (DeLong p=0.014) and to 0.923 (DeLong p=0.004) for males and females, respectively. Combining clinical risk factors with biomarker algorithms would enable application of the algorithms to triage haematuria patients. Using gender-specific biomarker algorithms in combination with clinical risks that are associated with BC would allow clinicians to better manage haematuria patients and potentially reduce underdiagnosis in females. In this study, we demonstrate, for the first time, that blood and urine biomarkers are gender-specific when assessing risk of BC in patients who present with blood in their urine. Combining biomarker data with clinical factors could improve triage when referring patients for further investigations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1009014
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Early online date23 Sept 2022
Publication statusEarly online date - 23 Sept 2022


  • haematuria triage
  • biomarkers
  • bladder cancer
  • cystoscopy
  • gender
  • diagnostic
  • cytology


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