Global Trends in Bladder Cancer Incidence and Mortality - Expert Commentary

Bladder cancer affects 550,000 new cases every year. Understanding the gender-specific incidence and mortality patterns and trends of bladder cancer is critical for reducing the global impact of this disease.

A recent study published in European Urology by Yuen-Chun Teoh et al. examined the global trends in bladder cancer mortality. The investigators examined bladder cancer incidence and mortality data from the GLOBOCAN database, Cancer Incidence in Five Continents, and the World Health Organization (WHO) mortality database. They also examined the correlation of these trends with rates of tobacco and GDP per capita.

Interestingly, different geographical regions had different incidence and mortality trends. Europe has an increasing incidence but decreasing mortality and Asia has a decreasing incidence but increasing male mortality. The investigators examined the gender-specific age-standardized rates (ASRs) of incidence and mortality and their correlations with the rate of tobacco use and GDP per capita. They identified a positive correlation between the rate of tobacco use and the ASRs of bladder cancer incidence (r = 0.20) and mortality (r = 0.38) in men and between the rate of tobacco use and the ASRs of bladder cancer incidence (r = 0.67) and mortality (r = 0.22) in women. A positive correlation between GDP per capita and the ASRs of bladder cancer incidence was also observed in men (r = 0.48) and women (r = 0.44). Tobacco use was significantly associated with bladder cancer incidence and mortality in men, and bladder cancer incidence in women in multivariable linear regression analysis.

The authors point out that the WHO set a global target of a 30% relative reduction in tobacco use prevalence by 2025. Given the significant association between tobacco use and the worldwide incidence and mortality of bladder cancer, achieving this laudable goal could have a major impact on the global burden of bladder cancer.

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


  1. Teoh, Jeremy Yuen-Chun, Junjie Huang, Wendy Yuet-Kiu Ko, Veeleah Lok, Peter Choi, Chi-Fai Ng, Shomik Sengupta et al. "Global Trends of Bladder Cancer Incidence and Mortality, and Their Associations with Tobacco Use and Gross Domestic Product Per Capita." European Urology (2020).
  2. World Health Organization. Global NCD target: reduce tobacco use. No. WHO/NMH/NMA/16.188. World Health Organization, 2016.
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