The article describes the tumorigenesis of bladder cancer from a pathological perspective in three dimensions: morphology, genetics and epigenetics. Field cancerization and tumor cell migration/seeding are the two main hypotheses used for explaining synchronous and metachronous tumors in the urinary tract. By detailed histological mapping of completely embedded cystectomy specimens we found a single tumor focus in nearly 2/3 of the bladders accompanied by surrounding preinvasive carcinoma in situ. We substantiated our findings by studies analyzing TP53 mutations and loss of heterozygosity in various tumor sites. Identical TP53 mutations suggested a clonal relationship of the tumor foci. In situ lineage tracing via cytochrome C oxidase and succinate dehydrogenase enzyme histochemistry and subsequent mitochondrial DNA mutation analysis for definitive evidence of a clonal relationship in bladder tumors remained inconclusive. We found indications for both theories but intraurothelial migration/seeding was more prominent.A further mechanism in tumorigenesis is gene inactivation by epigenetic DNA methylation. We analyzed DNA methylation of various genes, which had previously been found by RNA expression analysis to be downregulated in bladder cancer. Most importantly, epigenetically silenced ITIH5 was associated with early relapse in pT1 high grade tumors and functionally showed an enhanced invasive metastatic phenotype in tumor cells, suggesting a putative tumor suppressive role. Thus, epigenetic gene silencing is an additional mechanism of tumorigenesis especially in tumor progression.
Der Pathologe. 2016 Sep 09 [Epub ahead of print]
N T Gaisa
Institut für Pathologie, Uniklinik RWTH Aachen, Pauwelsstr. 30, 52074, Aachen, Deutschland. .