Early detection of bladder cancer is particularly important since it dramatically affects the survival rates. However, neither urinary cytology nor tumor markers that are currently used are sensitive enough for the early detection of bladder cancer or recurrent disease. The ras genes are frequently mutated in cancer. In this study, we investigated the diagnostic potential of ras mutation analysis in urinary sediments of patients with bladder cancer using a single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis and polymerase chain reaction. Mutation in codon 12 of the H-ras gene was observed in 39% of the patients. Our results indicate that this approach may significantly improve diagnostic sensitivity in detecting bladder tumors.