Combined exome and transcriptome sequencing of non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer: associations between genomic changes, expression subtypes, and clinical outcomes

Anshita Goel, Douglas G Ward, Boris Noyvert, Minghao Yu, Naheema S Gordon, Ben Abbotts, John K Colbourne, Stephen Kissane, Nicholas D James, Maurice P Zeegers, Kar Keung Cheng, Jean-Baptiste Cazier, Celina M Whalley, Andrew D Beggs, Claire Palles, Roland Arnold*, Richard T Bryan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Three-quarters of bladder cancer patients present with early-stage disease (non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer, NMIBC, UICC TNM stages Ta, T1 and Tis); however, most next-generation sequencing studies to date have concentrated on later-stage disease (muscle-invasive BC, stages T2+). We used exome and transcriptome sequencing to comprehensively characterise NMIBCs of all grades and stages to identify prognostic genes and pathways that could facilitate treatment decisions. Tumour grading is based upon microscopy and cellular appearances (grade 1 BCs are less aggressive, and grade 3 BCs are most aggressive), and we chose to also focus on the most clinically complex NMIBC subgroup, those patients with grade 3 pathological stage T1 (G3 pT1) disease.

METHODS: Whole-exome and RNA sequencing were performed in total on 96 primary NMIBCs including 22 G1 pTa, 14 G3 pTa and 53 G3 pT1s, with both exome and RNA sequencing data generated from 75 of these individual samples. Associations between genomic alterations, expression profiles and progression-free survival (PFS) were investigated.

RESULTS: NMIBCs clustered into 3 expression subtypes with different somatic alteration characteristics. Amplifications of ARNT and ERBB2 were significant indicators of worse PFS across all NMIBCs. High APOBEC mutagenesis and high tumour mutation burden were both potential indicators of better PFS in G3pT1 NMIBCs. The expression of individual genes was not prognostic in BCG-treated G3pT1 NMIBCs; however, downregulated interferon-alpha and gamma response pathways were significantly associated with worse PFS (adjusted p-value < 0.005).

CONCLUSIONS: Multi-omic data may facilitate better prognostication and selection of therapeutic interventions in patients with G3pT1 NMIBC. These findings demonstrate the potential for improving the management of high-risk NMIBC patients and warrant further prospective validation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number59
Number of pages16
JournalGenome Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2022


  • Disease Progression
  • Exome
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Transcriptome
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms/genetics
  • Mutations
  • Therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Subtypes
  • RISK
  • Bladder cancer
  • Urothelial carcinoma
  • Sequencing


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