Clinical usefulness of the novel marker BLCA-4 for the detection of bladder cancer

Badrinath R. Konety, Thu Suong T. Nguyen, Gilbert Brenes, Arnold Sholder, Nancy Lewis, Sheldon Bastacky, Douglas M. Potter, Robert H. Getzenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Purpose: Previous studies at our laboratory identified 6 bladder cancer specific nuclear matrix proteins termed BLCA-1 to 6. We recently developed an immunoassay that detects the bladder cancer specific nuclear matrix protein BLCA-4. We analyzed urine samples from patients with bladder cancer, those with spinal cord injury and normal volunteers to determine the BLCA-4 level in these 3 groups. Materials and Methods: Urine samples obtained from 51 normal controls, and 54 patients with bladder cancer and 202 with spinal cord injury were tested for BLCA-4. We evaluated the association of BLCA-4 level with tumor grade and stage, urine cytology and bladder cancer history in the nonspinal cord injured population. Similarly we compared parameters associated with BLCA-4, such as spinal cord injury duration, catheterization, history of urinary tract infection, smoking and urine culture, in spinal cord injured patients. Results: We established a normal cutoff point of 13 optical density units per μg. protein for the BLCA-4 assay. The BLCA-4 level was less than the cutoff in all 51 normal controls, while in 53 of the 55 urine samples (96.4%) of patients with bladder cancer and 38 of the 202 (19%) of spinal cord injured patients urinary BLCA-4 was greater than the cutoff. There was no correlation of any individual factors studied in these cases, including urinary tract infection and urinary BLCA- 4. Conclusions: Elevated urinary BLCA-4 levels may accurately identify bladder cancer and distinguish these patients from normal individuals. There is no correlation of urinary BLCA-4 with a history of urinary tract infection, smoking, catheterization or cystitis considered independently. Urinary BLCA-4 determination appears to have high potential as a test for screening and monitoring bladder cancer in the general population and in groups at high risk for the disease, such as those with spinal cord injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)634-639
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number3 I
StatePublished - Sep 2000


  • Bladder
  • Bladder neoplasms
  • Immunoassay
  • Spinal cord injuries


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