The potential risk of recurrence and progression in patients with non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer necessitates followup by cystoscopy. The risk of progression to muscle-invasive bladder cancer is estimated based on the European Organisation of Research and Treatment of Cancer score, a combination of several clinicopathological variables. However, pathological assessment is not objective and reproducibility is insufficient. The use of molecular markers could contribute to the estimation of tumor aggressiveness. We recently demonstrated that methylation of GATA2, TBX2, TBX3, and ZIC4 genes could predict progression in Ta tumors. In this study, we aimed to validate the markers in a large patient set using DNA from formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded tissue. PALGA: the Dutch Pathology Registry was used for patient selection. We included 192 patients with pTaG1/2 bladder cancer of whom 77 experienced progression. Methylation analysis was performed and log-rank analysis was used to calculate the predictive value of each methylation marker for developing progression over time. This analysis showed better progression-free survival in patients with low methylation rates compared with the patients with high methylation rates for all markers (P<0.001) during a followup of ten-years. The combined predictive effect of the methylation markers was analyzed with the Cox-regression method. In this analysis, TBX2, TBX3, and ZIC4 were independent predictors of progression. On the basis of methylation status of TBX2 and TBX3, patients were divided into three new molecular grade groups. Survival analysis showed that only 8% of patients in the low molecular grade group progressed within 5 years. This was 29 and 63% for the intermediate- and high-molecular grade groups. In conclusion, this new molecular-grade based on the combination of TBX2 and TBX3 methylation is an excellent marker for predicting progression to muscle-invasive bladder cancer in patients with primary pTaG1/2 bladder cancer.,
Modern Pathology
Department of Pathology

Beukers, W, Kandimalla, R, Masius, R.G, Vermeij, M, Kranse, R, Leenders, G.J.H.L, & Zwarthoff, E.C. (2015). Stratification based on methylation of TBX2 and TBX3 into three molecular grades predicts progression in patients with pTa-bladder cancer. Modern Pathology, 28(4), 515–522. doi:10.1038/modpathol.2014.145