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BJU Int. 2009 Mar;103(5):694-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2008.08213.x. Epub 2008 Nov 25.

Urinary insulin-like growth factor 2 identifies the presence of urothelial carcinoma of the bladder.

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The UCD School of Medicine and Medical Sciences, University College Dublin, Ireland.



To examine urinary insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF-2) levels in patient urine samples and determine the potential of IGF-2 as a marker for the presence of urothelial carcinoma of the bladder (UCB).


The current gold standard for diagnosis of UCB is cystoscopy and cytological analysis. The identification of an accurate urine marker for UCB with the potential to replace unnecessary cystoscopy would benefit patients with UCB and others investigated after detecting haematuria. In the present study, we analysed 65 urine samples, and optimized an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay-based approach to measure urinary levels of IGF-2.


Based on a threshold of 5.4 ng/mL, patients with UCB have significantly elevated levels of urinary IGF-2 (P = 0.009) and this difference remained significant after adjustment for age and sex (P = 0.04). Sensitivity and specificity values of 80% and 52%, respectively, were determined for urinary IGF-2 alone and when combined with nuclear matrix protein 22 (NMP22; an approved biomarker for detection of UCB). There was a positive correlation between urinary IGF-2 levels and NMP22 levels in patient urine samples and the combined assay improved the detection of UCB (sensitivity 85% and specificity 52%).


Substantiated evidence has identified IGF-2 as a valuable marker for UCB. In addition, the novel observations of the present study have shown that aberrant levels of IGF-2 occurring in the presence of UCB, can now be determined through a simple and inexpensive urine assay.

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