Introduction: Reactive oxygen species-induced damage to DNA plays a major role in carcinogenesis. Methods: In order to estimate the level of oxidative damage in bladder cancer, 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) was determined in DNA isolated from peripheral blood leukocytes of healthy adults and patients with superficial transitional cell carcinoma. Patients with transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder and control individuals were similar in age. In this study, the level of 8-OHdG in DNA in male subjects was measured by the high-performance liquid chromatography-electrochemical detector method. Results: The 8-OHdG levels in DNA from leukocytes of bladder cancer patients were significantly higher than those in controls. Conclusion: Reduction of oxidative stress is thought to be a very important measure for primary prevention of bladder cancer. Copyright (C) 2003 S. KargerAG, Basel.