Transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder is the second most common malignancy of the genitourinary tract. Cystoscopy and urine cytology are the traditional most used techniques for diagnosis and surveillance of superficial bladder cancer. Urine cytology is specific for diagnosis of bladder cancer but sensitivity results not high, particularly in low-grade disease. Voided urine can be easily obtained and therefore additional diagnostic urine tests would be ideal for screening or follow-up of transitional cell carcinoma. A number of studies have focused on the evaluation of urinary markers that hold promise as non-invasive adjuncts to conventional diagnostic or surveillance techniques. In this review we discuss several new urinary markers (test for bladder tumor antigen, NMP22, fibrin degradation products, telomerase, fluorescence in situ hybridization test, flow cytometry) and their role in detection and follow-up of bladder cancer. Most of these markers have higher sensitivity than urine cytology, but voided urine cytology has the highest specificity.
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