Current Trends and Challenges of Microbiome Research in Bladder Cancer

Ilaha Isali, Emma K Helstrom, Nicole Uzzo, Ankita Lakshmanan, Devika Nandwana, Henkel Valentine, Mohit Sindhani, Philip Abbosh, Laura Bukavina

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF THE REVIEW: Microbiome research has provided valuable insights into the associations between microbial communities and bladder cancer. However, this field faces significant challenges that hinder the interpretation, generalization, and translation of findings into clinical practice. This review aims to elucidate these challenges and highlight the importance of addressing them for the advancement of microbiome research in bladder cancer.

RECENT FINDINGS: Recent findings underscore the complexities involved in microbiome research, particularly in the context of bladder cancer. Challenges include low microbial biomass in urine samples, potential contamination issues during collection and processing, variability in sequencing methods and primer selection, and the difficulty of establishing causality between microbiota and bladder cancer. Studies have shown the impact of sample storage conditions and DNA isolation kits on microbiome analysis, emphasizing the need for standardization. Additionally, variations in urine collection methods can introduce contamination and affect results. The choice of 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing or shotgun metagenomic sequencing introduces technical challenges, including primer selection and sequencing read length. Establishing causality between the microbiota and bladder cancer requires experimental methods like fecal microbiota transplantation and human microbiota-associated murine models, which face their own set of challenges. Translating microbiome research into therapeutic applications is hindered by methodological variability, incomplete understanding of bioactive molecules, imperfect animal models, and the inherent heterogeneity of microbiome communities among individuals. Microbiome research in bladder cancer presents significant challenges stemming from technical and conceptual complexities. Addressing these challenges through standardization, improved experimental models, and advanced analytical approaches is essential for advancing our understanding of the microbiome's role in bladder cancer and its potential clinical applications. Achieving this goal can lead to improved patient outcomes and novel therapeutic strategies in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-298
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Oncology Reports
Issue number3
Early online dateFeb 20 2024
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • 16S
  • Bladder cancer
  • Gut microbiome
  • Microbiome
  • Urine microbiome
  • Urothelial carcinoma
  • Humans
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S/genetics
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms
  • Microbiota/genetics
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing/methods
  • Animals
  • Mice


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