A majority of the aggressive, invasive bladder carcinomas have alterations in the p53 and retinoblastoma genes and pathways. Examination of the alterations in the molecules in these pathways that regulate the cell cycle and their effects on the prognosis of bladder cancer are areas of active research. While defects in the p53-Mdm2-p14 axis have been implicated in urothelial cancer, perturbations in the cyclin-dependent kinases and their inhibitors have also been extensively studied in this context. Genetic alterations of the retinoblastoma gene and aberrant post-translational modifications of its protein have also been incriminated in invasive bladder cancer. This article reviews the individual prognostic roles of alterations in these molecules in the context of bladder cancer. Additionally, we review findings from recent studies that are attempting to analyze these markers in combination in an effort to construct molecular panels that can serve as more robust outcome predictors. More importantly, alterations in these molecules are now becoming enticing targets for novel therapeutics. We also review some of these agents that can restore the tumor cells' altered homeostatic mechanisms, thereby having potential in transitional cell carcinoma therapy. Future management of bladder cancer will employ validated marker panels for outcome prediction, and novel genetic and pharmacologic agents that will be able to target molecular alterations in individual tumors based on their respective profiles.
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