Introduction: Gaining a deeper insight into the single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) results of bladder cancer (BLCA) provides a transcriptomic profiling of individual cancer cells, which may disclose the molecular mechanisms involved in BLCA carcinogenesis.

Methods: scRNA data were obtained from GSE169379 dataset. We used the InferCNV software to determine the copy number variant (CNV) with normal epithelial cells serving as the reference, and performed the pseudo-timing analysis on subsets of epithelial cell using Monocle3 software. Transcription factor analysis was conducted using the Dorothea software. Intercellular communication analysis was performed using the Liana software. Cox analysis and LASSO regression were applied to establish a prognostic model.

Results: We investigated the heterogeneity of tumors in four distinct cell types of BLCA cancer, namely immune cells, endothelial cells, epithelial cells, and fibroblasts. We evaluated the transcription factor activity of different immune cells in BLCA and identified significant enrichment of TCF7 and TBX21 in CD8+ T cells. Additionally, we identified two distinct subtypes of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), namely iCAFs and myoCAFs, which exhibited distinct communication patterns. Using sub-cluster and cell trajectory analyses, we identified different states of normal-to-malignant cell transformation in epithelial cells. TF analysis further revealed high activation of MYC and SOX2 in tumor cells. Finally, we identified five model genes (SLCO3A1, ANXA1, TENM3, EHBP1, LSAMP) for the development of a prognostic model, which demonstrated high effectiveness in stratifying patients across seven different cohorts.

Conclusions: We have developed a prognostic model that has demonstrated significant efficacy in stratifying patients with BLCA.