Bladder cancer is the 5th commonest cancer and two major risk factors are smoking and occupational chemical exposure. There is also evidence of a genetic component to its aetiology. Candidate gene studies have mostly focused on genes involved in adduct metabolism and DNA repair, including a recent consortium-based meta-analysis. Recently, two genome-wide association studies in bladder cancer have been published and a third is awaited with interest. These first two studies have identified three SNPs of genome-wide significance, two located within the 8q24 'gene desert'. These SNPs are positioned near or within loci of genes potentially implicated in cancer predisposition, namely MYC, TP63 and PSCA, although the functional significance of this is as yet unclear.