Many pathological changes in solid tumours are caused by the accumulation of genetic mutations and epigenetic molecular alterations. In addition, tumour progression is profoundly influenced by the environment surrounding the transformed cells. The interplay between tumour cells and their microenvironment has been recognized as one of the key determinants of cancer development and is being extensively investigated. Data suggest that both the extracellular matrix and the microbiota represent microenvironments that contribute to the onset and progression of tumours. Through the introduction of omics technologies and pyrosequencing analyses, a detailed investigation of these two microenvironments is now possible. In urological research, assessment of their dysregulation has become increasingly important to provide diagnostic, prognostic and predictive biomarkers for urothelial bladder cancer. Understanding the roles of the extracellular matrix and microbiota, two key components of the urothelial mucosa, in the sequelae of pathogenic events that occur in the development and progression of urothelial carcinomas will be important to overcome the shortcomings in current bladder cancer treatment strategies.
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