BlueCross and BlueShield of Montana Medical Policy/Codes
Urinary Tumor Markers for Bladder Cancer
Chapter: Medicine: Tests
Current Effective Date: November 26, 2013
Original Effective Date: November 07, 2008
Publish Date: November 26, 2013
Revised Dates: March 1, 2010; September 6, 2012; October 30, 2013

The diagnosis of bladder cancer is generally made by cystoscopy and biopsy. Moreover, bladder cancer has a very high frequency of recurrence and therefore requires follow-up cystoscopies, along with urine cytology, as periodic surveillance to identify recurrence early. Urine biomarkers that might be used to either supplement or supplant these tests have been actively investigated.


Urinary bladder carcinoma, a relatively common cancer the United States, results in significant morbidity and mortality. Bladder cancer (urothelial carcinoma) typically presents as a tumor confined to the superficial mucosa of the bladder. The most common symptom of early bladder cancer is hematuria; however, urinary tract symptoms (i.e., urinary frequency, urgency and dysuria) may also occur.

For patients with hematuria, American Urological Association (AUA) guidelines recommend cystoscopic evaluation of all adults older than age 40 years with microscopic hematuria and for those younger than age 40 years with risk factors for developing bladder cancer. Confirmatory diagnosis of bladder cancer must be made by cystoscopic examination, and biopsy which is considered to be the gold standard. At initial diagnosis, approximately 70% of patients have cancers confined to the epithelium or subepithelial connective tissue. Non-muscle invasive disease is usually treated with transurethral resection, with or without intravesical therapy, depending on depth of invasion and tumor grade. However, a 50-75% incidence of recurrence has been noted in these patients, with 10-15% progressing to muscle invasion over a 5-year period. Current follow-up protocols include flexible cystoscopy and urine cytology every three months for 1-3 years, every 6 months for an additional 2-3 years, and then annually thereafter, assuming no recurrence. 

While urine cytology is a specific test (from 90–100%), its sensitivity is lower, ranging from 50–60% overall and is considered even lower for low-grade tumors. Therefore, interest has been reported in identifying tumor markers in voided urine that would provide a more sensitive and objective test for tumor recurrence.

Tests cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

The bladder tumor antigen (BTA) stat® test, (Polymedco Inc., Cortlandt Manor, NY) is a qualitative, point-of-care test with an immediate result that identifies a human complement factor H-related protein that was shown to be produced by several human bladder cell lines but not by other epithelial cell lines.

The BTA stat® test is an in vitro immunoassay intended for the qualitative detection of bladder tumor-associated antigen in the urine of persons diagnosed with bladder cancer. The BTA TRAK® test (Polymedco Inc., Cortlandt Manor, NY) provides a quantitative determination of the same protein. This assay requires trained personnel and a reference laboratory. Both tests have sensitivities comparable to that of cytology for high-grade tumors and better than cytology for low-grade tumors.

Nuclear matrix protein 22 (NMP-22) is a protein associated with the nuclear mitotic apparatus. It is thought that this protein is released from the nuclei of tumor cells during apoptosis. Normally, only very low levels of NMP-22 can be detected in the urine, and elevated levels may be associated with bladder cancer. NMP-22 may be detected in the urine using an immunoassay.

Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) DNA probe technology has also been used to detect chromosomal abnormalities in voided urine to assist not only in bladder cancer surveillance but also in the initial identification of bladder cancer. FISH DNA probe technology is a technique to visualize nucleic acid sequences within cells by creating short sequences of fluorescently labeled, single-strand DNA, called probes, which match target sequences. The probes bind to complementary strands of DNA, allowing for identification of the location of the chromosomes targeted. UroVysion® (Vysis Inc., Downers Grove, IL) is a commercially available FISH test.

The ImmunoCyt™ test (DiagnoCure Inc., Quebec) uses fluorescence immunohistochemistry with antibodies to a mucin glycoprotein and a carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). These antigens are found on bladder tumor cells. The test is used for monitoring bladder cancer in conjunction with cytology and cystoscopy.

In addition to the FDA-cleared tests, Predictive Biosciences (Lexington, MA) is marketing a urine-based test, called CertNDx™, to assess Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 3 (FGFR3) mutations. The test is intended to be used in combination with cytology for identifying patients with hematuria at risk of bladder cancer. It is being offered through Predictive Bioscience’s network of Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) laboratories. FGFR3 mutations may be associated with lower-grade bladder tumors that have a good prognosis.

Other urinary markers

A number of other urinary tumor markers, not currently commercially available in the United States, are under investigation. These include:

  • BLCA-1 and BCLA-4;
  • Hyaluronic acid and hyaluronidase;
  • Lewis X antigen;
  • Microsatellite markers;
  • Solubla Fas;
  • Survivin (can be isolated from urine and also from tumor samples);
  • Telomerase;
  • Cytokeratin 8, 18, 19, 20;Quanticyt.

Regulatory Status

Urinary tumor marker tests cleared by the FDA and are in clinical use include:

  • The quantitative BTA TRAK® and the qualitative point-of-care BTA (bladder tumor antigen) stat® test, both by Polymedco Inc., Cortlandt Manor, NY.
  • The quantitative immunoassay NMP22® and the qualitative, point-of-care test NMP22® BladderChek®, both by Matritech Inc., Newton, MA.
  • The UroVysion® Bladder Cancer Kit (Vysis Inc., Downers Grove, IL), a FISH test.
  • The ImmunoCyt™ test, also marketed as UCyt+™ (DiagnoCure Inc., Quebec).

With the exception of the ImmunoCyt test, which is only cleared for monitoring bladder cancer recurrence, all tests are FDA-cleared as adjunctive tests for use in the initial diagnosis of bladder cancer and surveillance of bladder cancer patients, in conjunction with standard procedures.


Each benefit plan, summary plan description or contract defines which services are covered, which services are excluded, and which services are subject to dollar caps or other limitations, conditions or exclusions. Members and their providers have the responsibility for consulting the member's benefit plan, summary plan description or contract to determine if there are any exclusions or other benefit limitations applicable to this service or supply.  If there is a discrepancy between a Medical Policy and a member's benefit plan, summary plan description or contract, the benefit plan, summary plan description or contract will govern.


Initial Diagnosis

The following urinary bladder tumor markers may be considered medically necessary as an adjunct in the diagnosis of bladder cancer only in conjunction with current standard diagnostic procedures (i.e., urine cytology and cystoscopy, with or without biopsy):


The following urinary bladder tumor marker is considered experimental, investigational and unproven in the diagnosis of bladder cancer:


Bladder Cancer Monitoring

The following urinary bladder cancer tumor markers may be considered medically necessary as an adjunct in the monitoring of bladder cancer only in conjunction with current standard diagnostic procedures (i.e., urine cytology and cystoscopy, with or without biopsy):


Screening for Bladder Cancer in Asymptomatic Persons

The use of urinary bladder cancer tumor markers is considered experimental, investigational and unproven for screening for bladder cancer in asymptomatic persons.

The use of all other bladder cancer tumor markers is considered experimental, investigational and unproven in the diagnosis, monitoring, or screening for bladder cancer.

*U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Approved Indications.

Policy Guidelines

BTA stat® and NMP-22 are immunoassay tests. CPT code 86294 may be used to describe the BTA stat® and the NMP-22 tests.

When performed in the qualitatively in the physician’s office, CPT code 86294 (immunoassay for tumor antigen) may be used to describe the BTA stat test and CPT code 86386 may be used to describe the NMP22 test. Prior to 2012, CPT code 86294 was used for both BTA and NMP22 testing.

For clinical laboratories performing a quantitative version of these tests, CPT code 86316 may be used to describe the test.

The UroVysion Bladder Cancer Kit is a FISH test; CPT codes 88120 and 88121 may describe FISH tests.


Urinary bladder tumors markers for diagnosing or monitoring bladder cancer

Technical performance

All of the FDA-approved tests for urinary tumor markers involve the use of standard laboratory procedures.

Diagnostic performance

Studies have evaluated the diagnostic performance of individual markers compared to urine cytology, the standard urine-based test for bladder tumor diagnosis and surveillance. Cystoscopy and biopsy are generally used as the gold standard comparison. Of particular interest are the relative performance of individual markers and the performance of individual markers compared to combinations of markers.

BTA (bladder tumor antigen) STAT, NMP22 (nuclear matrix protein 22), UroVysion and Immunocyt

A 2011 article by Parker and Spiess reviewed the published literature and summarized the sensitivity and specificity of several urine tumor markers in bladder cancer for diagnosis or monitoring of recurrence. (1) Selected information from the article is reported in the following table:


Sensitivity range (%)

Specificity range (%)













*FISH (UroVysion)62-85



*FISH, fluorescence in situ hybridization

The United Kingdom Health Technology Assessment Program published a systematic review in 2010 of studies on the diagnostic performance of the urine biomarkers (2) The review combined studies that evaluated the tests for initial diagnosis of bladder cancer and those evaluating tests to identify bladder cancer recurrence. Studies used cystoscopy with biopsy as the reference standard. Results of pooled patient-level analyses are:





Number of studies




Number of patients




Sensitivity % (95% confidence interval [CI})

76 (65-84)

84 (77-91)

68 (62-74)

Specificity % (95% CI)

85 (78-92)

75 (68-83)

79 (74-84)

Representative studies comparing the diagnostic accuracy of 2 or more urinary markers compared to a reference standard are described below.

A cross-sectional study from Germany, published by Horstmann and colleagues in 2009, compared the performance of UroVysion, ImmunoCyt and NMP22 used to detect bladder cancer recurrence in a sample of 221 patients diagnosed with non-muscle-invasive transitional cell carcinoma. (3) Patients subsequently underwent cystoscopy as part of regular follow-up (n=49) or transurethral resection of the bladder (TURB) for suspicion of recurrent disease (n=172). Findings from cystoscopy or TURB were considered the gold standard diagnosis. The investigators evaluated the diagnostic performance of individual markers, urinary cytology, and all possible combinations of markers. When combinations of markers were used, the test was considered positive if at least one marker was positive.

Cytology was the most sensitive single marker (84%) but was less specific than ImmunoCyt (62% and 72%, respectively). The authors commented that the performance of cytology was better than in previous similar studies, and the performance of other single markers was similar to previous studies. All combinations of 2 tests increased the sensitivity. Sensitivities varied from 94%, with a combination of cytology and NMP22, to 87% for the combination of cytology and UroVysion. Combining 2 tests generally lowered the specificity. In monitoring patients for bladder cancer recurrence; sensitivity is the more important test characteristic. Still, the combination with the best tradeoff of sensitivity and specificity was cytology and ImmunoCyt, which had a sensitivity of 93% and a specificity of 56%. Combining 3 tests increased the sensitivity even further. Two combinations attained a sensitivity of 98%, NMP22 and ImmunoCyt combined with either cytology or UroVysion. Specificity of these combinations was low, 31-32%. The best tradeoff with 3 markers was the combination of cytology, ImmunoCyt, and UroVysion, which had a sensitivity of 93% and a specificity of 49%. Combining all 4 tests did not substantially improve the diagnostic performance.

In 2009, Sullivan and colleagues published a cross-sectional study that compared the urinary tumor markers ImmunoCyt and UroVysion. (4) A single voided sample was obtained from 100 patients with a history of bladder cancer. Immediately after urine collection, patients underwent cystoscopy to identify cancer recurrence. Cystoscopy with biopsy was the gold standard; only biopsy-proven cases were considered positive. The urine sample was divided and used to evaluate cytology, ImmunoCyt and UroVysion; each type of analysis was conducted blindly in a different laboratory. Of the 100 samples, 2 were considered inadequate for cytology, 2 were inadequate for ImmunoCyt analysis, and 12 had cell counts too low for UroVysion analysis. Thus, sample size was 98 for cytology and ImmunoCyt and 88 for UroVysion. Sensitivities were 21% for cytology, 76% for ImmunoCyt, and 13% for UroVysion. Specificities were 97% for cytology, 63% for ImmunoCyt, and 90% for UroVysion. Diagnostic performance of the combination of cytology and ImmunoCyt, but not cytology and UroVysion, was reported. In the analysis of 2 tests, sensitivity was calculated with either test positive, and specificity with both tests negative. For the combination of cytology and ImmunoCyt, the sensitivity was 75% and specificity was 63%. The specificity of this combination of tests was similar to that found by Horstmann and colleagues, described above, (3) which was 56%. The combined sensitivity was lower than in the Horstmann study (93%), likely due to the higher sensitivity of urinary cytology found by Horstmann et al. The Sullivan study was limited by a small sample size. Moreover, the study was supported by DiagnoCure, the manufacturer of ImmunoCyt; the Horstmann study did not receive industry funding.

A prospective study by Kamat and colleagues evaluated the accuracy of 5 bladder cancer surveillance protocols for identifying recurrence in patients with a history of bladder cancer. (5) Four patient management strategies were compared: cystoscopy alone; cystoscopy and NMP22; cystoscopy and Urovysion; and cystoscopy and cytology. In addition, a fifth hypothetical protocol was evaluated; cystoscopy and contingent strategy in which a Urovysion test was only performed if the NMP22 test was positive. After an initial evaluation, patients were followed with routine cystoscopy every 3-6 months. For patients with a negative cystoscopy at baseline and in whom a tumor was detected at the first follow-up (i.e., within 6 months), it was assumed that this was a true result reflecting a missed diagnosis at the initial examination. Cancer was detected in 13 of 200 (6.5%) patients at the baseline evaluation and in 12 of 187 (6.4%) initially negative patients at first follow-up. Each of the patient management strategies described above correctly identified all 13 patients diagnosed with cancer at study entry. The proportion of false-positives at baseline was 2 of 15 (13%) patients testing positive using cystoscopy alone, 19 of 32 (59%) positives with cystoscopy and NMP22, 30 of 43 (70%) positives with cystoscopy and Urovysion, 14 of 27 (52%) positives with cystoscopy and cytology, and 6 of 19 (32%) positives with cystoscopy and NMP22, followed by Urovysion if the NMP22 test was positive. The number of initial false-positives that were confirmed positive at the first follow-up for each strategy was 0, 1, 5, 2, and 1, respectively. The 2 invasive tumors (out of 12 total tumors) identified at first follow-up were missed by all 5 surveillance strategies; urinary tumor markers only detected non-invasive tumors.

FGFR3 (Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 3) mutations

Several studies have evaluated urine-based assays for identifying FGFR3 mutations. A 2012 study was published by Fernandez and colleagues; several authors were employees of Predictive Biosciences, the manufacturer of the CertNDx test. (6) The study included 323 individuals who had been treated for bladder cancer; 48 of these had a recurrence of bladder cancer and the remaining 275 had no current evidence of disease. Seven patients without disease did not have sufficient DNA for FGFR3 mutation testing and were excluded from further analysis. FGFR3 mutations were detected in 15 samples, 5 from patients with cancer recurrence and 10 from individuals without evidence of disease. This resulted in a sensitivity of 5/48 (10%) and a specificity of 258/268 (96%). When results of FGFR3 mutation analysis were combined with the findings of other tests (matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2), Twist 1 and Nid2 methylation), the markers had a 92% sensitivity (44/48) and 51% specificity (136/268) for detecting cancer recurrence.

In a retrospective study, Rieger-Christ and colleagues compared the accuracy of FGFR3 mutation analysis, cytology and the combination of the two in identifying bladder tumors. (7) The study included 192 patients with bladder cancer, 72 who underwent TURB (Group A) and 120 who underwent cystectomy (Group B). Urine samples were collected prior to surgery. DNA preparations were screened for FGFR3 mutations using single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) and DNA sequencing. (The study did not appear to use the CertNDx test). Cytology results were available for 62/72 (86%) in the TURB group and 62/120 (52%) in the cystectomy group. Sensitivity of the FGFR3 test alone was 68% for Group A and 24% for Group B. The sensitivity of cytology alone was 32% for Group A and 90% for Group B. For the combination of FGFR3 and cytology, the sensitivity was 78% for Group A and 93.5% for Group B.

In addition, Zuiverloon and colleagues applied FGFR3 mutation analysis to the detection and prediction of bladder cancer recurrence. (8) The research team, based in the Netherlands, developed an assay to identify common FGFR3 mutations in urine samples. This assay validation study identified the FGFR3 mutation status of tumors in 200 patients with low-grade non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. FGFR3 mutations were identified in 134 (67%) patients. The 134 patients with an FGFR3-mutant tumor provided 463 urine samples, and 45 concomitant histologically proven recurrences of bladder cancer were found. The sensitivity of the assay to detect concomitant recurrences was 26/45 (58%). After at least 12 months of follow-up from the time of the last urine sample, an additional 34 recurrences were identified. Overall, 85 of 105 (81%) FGFR3-positive urine samples were associated with a bladder cancer recurrence compared to 41 of 358 (11%) FGFR3-negative urine samples. In a Cox time-to-event analysis, an FGFR3-positive urine was associated with a 3.8-fold higher risk of having a recurrence (p<0.0001).

Other urinary bladder tumor markers

A 2009 review article on potential new tumor markers comments that bladder cancer tumor markers is a rapidly evolving field in which new markers are constantly identified. (9) The review concluded, “1) there exists a dizzying number of markers identified using newer expertise, and 2) much more work will need to be done to delineate which markers may be clinically applicable and which will be discarded.”

Regarding the variety of other potential tumor markers in bladder cancer, most of the published studies evaluating them have included small numbers of patients and were preliminary investigations. Literature searches identified 1 meta-analysis and several larger prospective studies on additional markers. The meta-analysis, published in 2012 by Ku and colleagues, addressed using urine survivin as a marker for diagnosing bladder cancer and used cystoscopy and/or histopathology as a reference standard. (10) They identified 14 studies, 3 of which were conducted in the United States and 3 of which identified recruitment as prospective. A meta-analysis of data from the studies found a pooled sensitivity for the urine survivin test of 0.77 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.74-0.80) and a pooled specificity of 0.92 (95% CI: 0.90-0.93). In a pre-planned subgroup analysis comparing the diagnostic accuracy of survivin and cytology, a pooled analysis of data from 6 studies found that survivin had a significantly better sensitivity than cytology, but a significantly lower specificity; the sensitivity and specificity of cytology for diagnosing bladder cancer was 0.43 and 0.98, respectively.

Among the prospective studies evaluating potential tumor markers, Eissa and colleagues in Egypt aimed to determine the ability of HYAL1 and survivin to identify malignant bladder tumors. (11) A total of 278 patients underwent urine analysis and cystoscopy, and 100 healthy volunteers who did not undergo cystoscopy served as controls. Among patients, 166 were found to have bladder cancer, and 112 had benign bladder lesions. Using qualitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis, HYAL1 was identified in 153 (92%) malignant samples and 12 (11%) of benign samples, and survivin in 126 (76%) of malignant samples and 12 (11%) of benign samples. HYAL1 and survivin were not identified in any of the control samples. Using the best cutoffs for discriminating the malignant and non-malignant groups, the sensitivity of HYAL1 was 92.2% at 94.3% specificity. This was higher than a comparable analysis of survivin, which had 75.9% sensitivity and 94.3% specificity. Using semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis, the sensitivity of HYAL1 was 91% and of survivin was 95.9%; specificity in both cases was 100%.

Similarly, Passerotti and colleagues in Brazil evaluated urinary hyaluronate for diagnosing transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). (12) Urine samples were taken from 350 patients prior to surgery (cystoscopy, cystectomy or transuretheral resection for bladder cancer). Postoperatively, a total of 160 patients (46%) were found to have TCC. Using area under the curve analysis, the investigators identified the optimal urinary hyaluronan cutoff to be 13.0 ug; with this cutoff, the test had a sensitivity of 82.3% and a specificity of 81.2% for identifying the presence of TCC.

Moreover, a 2010 study by Li and colleagues in China prospectively evaluated the cytokeratin 20 (CK20) test for detecting urothelial carcinoma. (13) Diagnostic accuracy of CK20 was compared to cytology and the Immunocyt test, using cystoscopy with histological diagnosis as the reference standard. The study included 169 patients who were hospitalized for a urological condition; 22 healthy individuals were included as controls. Thirty-four of 169 (20%) patients were excluded from the analysis due to missing data. Of the remaining 135 patients, 93 had urothelial carcinoma (primary tumors in 68 and recurrent tumors in 25), 26 had other urogenital malignancies, and 16 had benign lesions. A total of 132 patients had findings available on all 3 tests. The sensitivity of liquid-based cytology alone was 49.4% and the specificity was 91.1%. The combination of cytology and CK20 yielded a sensitivity of 81.6% and a specificity of 88.9%. When all 3 tests were used together (any positive test scored as positive), the sensitivity was 90.8% and the specificity was 84.4%. It is worth noting that the Immunocyt test is FDA-approved for use in patients already diagnosed with bladder cancer, not for initial diagnosis. The authors did not specify whether or not all study participants, who were inpatients in a department of urology, had previously received a diagnosis for their condition.

Impact on patient care

Because of the potential consequences of missing a diagnosis of recurrent bladder cancer, it is unlikely that the schedule of cystoscopies will be altered unless the sensitivity of urinary marker(s) approaches 100%. However, some authors have suggested that consideration be given to lengthening the intervals of cystoscopy in patients with low levels of an accurate marker and low-grade bladder cancer. In addition, while urinary tumor markers might not alter the schedule of cystoscopies, if their results suggest a high likelihood of tumor recurrence, the resulting cystoscopy might be performed more thoroughly, or investigation of the upper urinary tract might be instigated. (14)

No studies were identified that prospectively evaluated health outcomes in patients who were managed with and without the use of urinary tumor marker tests. In addition, there were no published studies to date comparing different cystoscopy protocols, used in conjunction with urinary markers, to monitor recurrence.

A 2011 study by Shariat and colleagues used a decision-curve analysis to assess the impact of urinary marker testing on the decision to refer for cystoscopy and concluded that the marker did not aid clinical decision making in most cases. (15) The study included 2,222 patients with nonmuscle-invasive bladder cancer and negative cytology, at various stages of surveillance. (Patients with positive urinary cytology were excluded, since standard practice is to refer these patients for cystoscopy). According to the study protocol, all patients underwent cystoscopy, and 581 (26%) were found to have disease recurrence; of these, 234 (40%) had disease progression. NMP22 level was found to be significantly associated with both disease recurrence and progression (p<0.001 for both). In the analysis, clinical net benefit of the NMP22 test was evaluated by summing the benefits (true-positives), subtracting the harms (false-positives), and weighing these values by the “threshold probability,” defined as the minimum probability of bladder cancer or recurrence at which a patient or clinician would opt for cystoscopy. The investigators found only a small clinical net benefit of the NMP22 test over the strategy of “cystoscopy for all patients,” and this benefit occurred only at threshold probabilities over 8%.

For example, for patients with at least a 15% risk of recurrence, using a model containing age, sex, and NMP22, 229 (23%) cystoscopies could be avoided, 236 (90%) recurrences would be identified and 25 (15%) recurrences would be missed. Thus, for clinicians or patients who would opt for a cystoscopy even if patients had a low risk of recurrence e.g. 5%, NMP22 would not add clinical benefit and the optimal strategy would be to offer cystoscopy to all at-risk patients. The authors attributed the low clinical net benefit to the high risk of bladder cancer recurrence in patients with negative cytology

Urinary markers for screening asymptomatic individuals for bladder cancer

In 2010, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) published an updated evidence review on screening adults for bladder cancer. (16) The quality of direct evidence that screening for bladder cancer reduces morbidity or mortality was poor. There were no randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and only one prospective study, which was rated as being poor quality. The systematic review did not identify any studies evaluating the sensitivity or specificity of diagnostic tests for bladder patients in asymptomatic average-risk patients. Moreover, the review did not identify any suitable studies on whether treatment of screen-detected bladder cancer reduces disease-specific morbidity and mortality, or on potential harms of screening for bladder cancer. The authors concluded that “major gaps in evidence make it impossible to reach any reliable conclusions about screening.”

A modeling study published in 2006 reported that screening the general population for bladder cancer using tumor markers would not be beneficial but that screening an asymptomatic high-risk population would yield a benefit similar to other cancer screening programs (e.g., prostate, colon, and breast cancer). (17)

In 2009, Lotan and colleagues published a prospective study in which 1,502 individuals at high-risk of bladder cancer due to age plus smoking and/or occupational exposure were screened. (18) Approximately 60% of the sample was recruited from a Veterans Administration hospital and 1,175 (78%) of the study population was male. Approximately 73% of participants had undergone urinalysis within 3 years of screening. Individuals with a history of urological malignancy or gross malignancy and those with current urinary problems that might increase the false-positive rate were excluded. The study used the NMP22 BladderChek test and was supported by Matritech, the test manufacturer. Individuals with positive BladderChek tests underwent additional testing, beginning with urinalysis. Those found to have infection on urinalysis were treated and their urine was re-tested; others who tested positive received cystoscopy and cytology. Individuals with a negative BladderChek test did not have to undergo additional testing. Eighty-five (5.7%) of the 1,502 participants had a positive BladderChek test. Of these, 69 (81%) underwent cystoscopy; 14 refused, and 2 patients with urethral strictures were unable to be examined. Two of the 85 patients were found to have bladder cancer (non-invasive), yielding a positive predictive value of 2.4%. There was also one case of atypia. Follow-up at a mean of 12 months was obtained for 1,309 of 1,502 (87%) screened individuals. No additional cancers were diagnosed in the group that had had positive BladderChek tests. Two participants with negative BladderChek screen had been diagnosed with bladder cancer; both tumors were less than 1 cm. Since no follow-up tests were done on participants who initially tested negative, it cannot be known whether these were false-negative findings or new cancers. The authors report that the cancer prevalence in this population was lower than expected, which could be due in part to the large proportion that had previously undergone urinalysis. Study limitations include lack of follow-up testing on approximately 20% of participants who tested positive and lack of early cystoscopy and incomplete 1-year telephone follow-up in those who tested negative. Because of these limitations, accurate test operating characteristics (e.g., sensitivity) cannot be calculated.


Numerous studies have evaluated the diagnostic performance of the FDA-approved urinary tumor markers. Overall, studies have found reasonable sensitivities and specificities, and a recent study found that that one or two of these urinary tumor markers can enhance the sensitivity of urinary cytology. Studies describing other, non-FDA approved markers generally involve limited numbers of patients, and they have not been compared to urinary cytology or the commercially available tests. Based on the available evidence, the FDA-approved urinary markers are considered medically necessary for their approved indications when used in conjunction with standard diagnostic procedures; other markers are considered experimental, investigational and unproven.


Disclaimer for coding information on Medical Policies

Procedure and diagnosis codes on Medical Policy documents are included only as a general reference tool for each policy. They may not be all-inclusive.

The presence or absence of procedure, service, supply, device or diagnosis codes in a Medical Policy document has no relevance for determination of benefit coverage for members or reimbursement for providers. Only the written coverage position in a medical policy should be used for such determinations.

Benefit coverage determinations based on written Medical Policy coverage positions must include review of the member’s benefit contract or Summary Plan Description (SPD) for defined coverage vs. non-coverage, benefit exclusions, and benefit limitations such as dollar or duration caps. 

ICD-9 Codes

188-188.9, 233.7, 239.4, 599.70, V10.51

ICD-10 Codes

C67.0-C67.9, D09.0, D49.4, R31.9, Z85.51

Procedural Codes: 86294, 86316, 86386, 88120, 88121
  1. Parker J, Spiess PE. Current and emerging bladder cancer urinary biomarkers. ScientificWorldJournal 2011; 11:1103-12.
  2. Mowatt G, Zhu S, Kilonzo M et al. Systematic review of the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of photodynamic diagnosis and urine biomarkers (FISH, ImmunoCyt, NMP22) and cytology for the detection and follow-up of bladder cancer. Health Technol Assess 2010; 14(4):1-331.
  3. Horstmann M, Patschan O, Hennenlotter J et al. Combinations of urine-based tumor markers in bladder cancer surveillance. Scand J Urol Nephrol 2009; 43(6):461-6.
  4. Sullivan PS, Nooraie F, Sanchez H et al. Comparison of ImmunoCyt, UroVysion and urine cytology in detection of recurrent urothelial carcinoma. Cancer Cytopathol 2009; 117(3):167-73.
  5. Kamat AM, Karam JA, Grossman HB et al. Prospective trial to identify optimal bladder cancer surveillance protocol: reducing costs while maximizing sensitivity. BJU Int 2011; 108(7):1119-24.
  6. Fernandez CA, Millholland JM, Zwarthoff EC et al. A noninvasive multi-analyte diagnostic assay: combining protein and DNA markers to stratify bladder cancer patients. Research and Reports in Urology 2012: 4:17-26.
  7. Rieger-Christ KM, Mourtzinos A, Lee PJ et al. Identification of fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 mutations in urine sediment DNA samples complements cytology in bladder tumor detection. Cancer 2003; 98(4):737-44.
  8. Zuiverloon TC, van der Aa MN, van der Kwast TH et al. Fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 mutation analysis on voided urine for surveillance of patients with low-grade non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer. Clin Cancer Res 2010; 16(11):3011-8.
  9. Shirodkar SP, Lokeshwar VB. Potential new markers in the early detection of bladder cancer. Curr Opin Urol 2009; 19(5):488-93.
  10. Ku JH, Godoy G, Amiel GE et al. Urine survivin as a diagnostic biomarker for bladder cancer: A systematic review. BJU Int 2012 [Epub ahead of print].
  11. Eissa S, Swellam M, Shehata H et al. Expression of HYAL1 and survivin RNA as diagnostic molecular markers for bladder cancer. J Urol 2010; 183(2):493-8.
  12. Passerotti CC, Srougi M, Bomfim AC et al. Testing for urinary hyaluronate improves detection and grading of transitional cell carcinoma. Urol Oncol 2011; 29(6):710-5.
  13. Li HX, Li M, Li CL et al. Immunocyt and cytokeratin 20 immunocytochemistry as adjunct markers for urine cytologic detection of bladder cancer. Ann Quant Cytol Histol 2010; 32(1):45-52.
  14. Grocela JA, McDougal WS. Utility of nuclear matrix protein (NMP-22) in the detection of recurrent bladder cancer. Urol Clin North Am 2000; 27(1):47-51.
  15. Shariat SF, Savage C, Chromecki TF et al. Assessing the clinical benefit of nuclear matrix protein 22 in the surveillance of patients with nonmuscle-invasive bladder cancer and negative cytology. Cancer 2011; 117(13):2893-7.
  16. Chou R, Dana T. Screening adults for bladder cancer: a review of the evidence for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Ann Intern Med 2010; 153(7):461-8.
  17. Svatek RS, Sagalowsky AI, Lotan Y. Economic impact of screening for bladder cancer using bladder tumor markers: a decision analysis. Urol Oncol 2006; 24(4):338-43.
  18. Lotan Y, Elias K, Svatek RS et al. Bladder cancer screening in a high risk asymptomatic population using a point of care urine based protein tumor marker. J Urol 2009; 182(1):52-8.
  19. Urinary Tumor Markers for Bladder Cancer. Chicago, Illinois: Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Medical Policy Reference Manual (2012 July) Medicine 2.04.07.
September 2012 Policy updated with literature search through March 2012. Policy changed to investigational for diagnosing, monitoring and/or screening for bladder cancer. References 1, 6-8, 10, 12, 15 and 20 added; other references renumbered or removed. Clinical input added.
November 2013 Policy formatting and language revised.  Added CPT code 38286.  Policy statement changed from strictly investigational to include medically necessary criteria.
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Urinary Tumor Markers for Bladder Cancer