Early Detection of Bladder Urothelial Cell Carcinoma Using Micronuclei, Nucleoplasmic Bridges and Nuclear Buds - Expert Commentary

Chromosomal damage, breakage, loss, and rearrangement are early events in cancer initiations. A recent study published by Podrimaj-Bytyqi et al. in Scientific Reports evaluated the use of chromosomal damage as a biomarker for the early detection of bladder cancer using micronuclei (MN) assays. The investigator assessed the frequencies of biomarkers of chromosomal damage including: (MN), nucleoplasmic bridges (NPBs) and nuclear buds (NBUDs) as predictors of genomic instability. The study enrolled 40 non-smoker urothelial carcinoma patients and 20 controls. The investigators simultaneously conducted MN assays in urothelial exfoliated cells (UEC), buccal exfoliated cells (BEC), and a cytokinesis-block micronucleus (CBMN) cytome assay in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL). 

The investigators found that the frequency of MN in UEC, BEC, and PBL was significantly higher in patients than in controls. The frequency of MN in UEC was 17 times, in BEC was 3 times and in PBL was 4 times higher than the control group. Similarly, the frequency of NPB was 10 times higher and NBUD was 12 times higher in patients compared to controls. 

This study provides proof-of-concept supporting the investigation of urinary markers of genomic instability such as micronuclei, nucleoplasmic bridges and nuclear buds for the detection of urothelial carcinoma or identifying high-risk individuals. Additional research in this area can complement newer methods such as sequencing of cell-free urine DNA.

Written by: Bishoy M. Faltas, MD, Director of Bladder Cancer Research, Englander Institute for Precision Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine

Podrimaj-Bytyqi A, Borovečki A, Selimi Q, Manxhuka-Kerliu S, Gashi G, Elezaj IR. The frequencies of micronuclei, nucleoplasmic bridges and nuclear buds as biomarkers of genomic instability in patients with urothelial cell carcinoma. Sci Rep. 2018 Dec 14;8(1):17873. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-35903-5
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