Background: Expression of the human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) gene, which codes for the catalytic subunit of telomerase is considered an important tumor marker used for bladder cancer detection being found in the majority of cancer cells. Scatter Factor (SF) is a secretory protein produced by fibroblasts and smooth muscles and induces scattering of the epithelial cells. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the potential usefulness of hTERT and SF measurement as urinary markers for bladder cancer diagnosis.
Methods: Voided urine specimens were collected from patients with histologically confirmed bladder urothelial carcinoma (malignant group: n = 60), urological patients without urothelial carcinoma (benign group: n = 25), and healthy volunteers (control group: n = 20). All cases underwent urine cytology, serological schistosomiasis antibody assay and detection of urinary hTERT mRNA using RT-PCR and SF using ELISA.
Results: Positivity rate of hTERT mRNA was markedly higher in malignant versus benign or control cases (86.67%, 8%, and 0%, respectively, p-value < 0.001). Combining hTERT and cytology increased the sensitivity of cytology to 95%. According to a cut-off value of urinary SF (? 410 ng/mg protein), 57 (95%) of the patients with bladder carcinoma, 10 (40%) with benign lesions, and non of the control individuals were positive and the difference between the 3 groups was statistically significant (p < 0.001). The sensitivity of cytology was increased to 98.33% when combined with the SF assay. When associating the two urinary markers with different clinicopathological factors of the bladder cancer group, only SF exerted a significantly higher positivity rate at the invasive stage (100%) than the superficial stage (88.46%) as well as in transitional cell carcinoma (100%) than squamous cell carcinoma type (87.5%).
Conclusions: hTERT and SF can be considered potential useful markers for detection of bladder cancer.