Urine DNA methylation assay enables early detection and recurrence monitoring for bladder cancer

Bladder Cancer

J Clin Invest. 2020 Aug 20:139597. doi: 10.1172/JCI139597. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Current methods for the detection and surveillance of bladder cancer (BCa) are often invasive and/or possess suboptimal sensitivity and specificity, especially in early stage, minimal, residual tumors.

METHODS: We developed a novel method for the detection of urine tumor DNA Methylation at multiple genomic regions by Mass Array, termed utMeMA. We identified the BCa-specific methylation markers by combined analyses of Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital (SYSMH), TCGA and GEO cohorts. The BCa diagnostic model was built in a retrospective cohort (n=313) and validated in a multicenter, prospective cohort (n=175). The performance of this diagnostic assay was analyzed and compared with urine cytology and FISH.

RESULTS: We first discovered 26 significant methylation markers of BCa in combined analyses. We build and validate a two-marker-based diagnostic model that discriminated patients with BCa with high accuracy (86.7%), sensitivity (90.0%) and specificity (83.1%). Furthermore, utMeMA based assay achieved a great improvement in sensitivity over urine cytology and FISH, especially in the detection of early stage (Ta and low grade tumor, 64.5% vs. 11.8%, 15.8%), minimal (81.0% vs. 14.8%, 37.9%), residual (93.3% vs. 27.3%, 64.3%) and recurrent (89.5% vs. 31.4%, 52.8%) tumors. The urine diagnostic score (UD-score) from this assay was better associated with tumor malignancy and burden.

CONCLUSIONS: Urine tumor DNA methylation assessment for early diagnosis, minimal, residual tumor detection and surveillance in bladder cancer is a rapid, high-throughput, non-invasive and promising approach, which may reduce the burden of cystoscopy and blind second surgery.