Immunotherapy is a promising strategy for the treatment of various types of cancer. An antibody that targets programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) pathway has been shown to be active towards various types of cancer, including melanoma and lung cancer. MPDL3280A, an anti‑PD-L1 antibody, has shown clear clinical activity in PD-L1-overexpressing bladder cancer with an objective response rate of 40-50%, resulting in a breakthrough therapy designation granted by FDA. These events pronounce the importance of targeting the PD-L1 pathway in the treatment of bladder cancer. In the present study, we investigated the prognostic significance of the expression of three genes in the PD-L1 pathway, including PD-L1, B7.1 and PD-1, in three independent bladder cancer datasets in the Gene Expression Omnibus database. PD-L1, B7.1 and PD-1 were significantly associated with clinicopathological parameters indicative of a more aggressive phenotype of bladder cancer, such as a more advanced stage and a higher tumor grade. In addition, a high level expression of PD-L1 was associated with reduced patient survival. Of note, the combination of PD-L1 and B7.1 expression, but not other combinations of the three genes, were also able to predict patient survival. Our findings support the development of anti-PD-L1, which blocks PD-L1-PD-1 and B7.1-PD-L1 interactions, in treatment of bladder cancer. The observations were consistent in the three independent bladder cancer datasets consisting of a total of 695 human bladder specimens. The datasets were then assessed and it was found that the expression levels of the chemokine CC-motif ligand (CCL), CCL3, CCL8 and CCL18, were correlated with the PD-L1 expression level, while ADAMTS13 was differentially expressed in patients with a different survival status (alive or deceased). Additional investigations are required to elucidate the role of these genes in the PD-L1-mediated immune system suppression and bladder cancer progression. In conclusion, findings of this study suggested that PD-L1 is an important prognostic marker and a therapeutic target for bladder cancer.