Currently, there are no biomarkers which can identify patients with an increased risk of developing urothelial cancer as a result of occupational chemical exposure. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationships between final diagnosis and 22 biomarkers measured in urine, serum and plasma collected from 156 hematuric patients. Fourteen of the 80 patients (17.5%) with urothelial cancer and 13/76 (17.1%) of the controls were deemed to have a history of chemical exposure. We applied Fisher's exact tests to explore associations between chemical exposure and final diagnosis, and tumor stage and grade, where applicable; ANOVA and t-test to compare age across patients with and without chemical exposure; and Zelen's exact test to evaluate relationships across final diagnosis, chemical exposure and smoking. Following pre-selection of biomarkers using Lasso, we identified biomarkers with differential levels across patients with and without chemical exposure using Welch's t-test. Using a one-sided t-test and considering multiple testing using FDR, we observed that TM levels in urine were significantly higher in samples from patients with a history of chemical exposure regardless of their diagnosis as control or urothelial cancer (one-sided t-test, pUC = 0.014 and pCTL = 0.043); in the presence of dipstick protein and when urinary pH levels ≤ 6 (p = 0.003), but not in the presence of dipstick blood (p = 0.115). Urothelial cancer patients with a history of chemical exposure were significantly younger (64.1 years) than those without chemical exposure (70.2 years) (one-sided t-test p-value = 0.012); and their tumors were higher grade (Fisher's exact test; p = 0.008). There was a strong association between a history of chemical exposure and smoking in urothelial cancer patients (Zelen's exact test; p = 0.025). Elevated urinary thrombomodulin levels could have the potential to identify chemical exposure in hematuric patients at high risk of developing urothelial cancer.
- Bladder cancer
- Chemical exposure
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)