We present a retrospective study using four different immunohistochemical markers (PCNA, Ki-67, 486p and p53) on paraffin sections from 104 selected cases with primary superficial transitional cell carcinomas of the bladder (59 cases pTa, 45 cases pTl, 40 cases Gl, 64 cases G2). 53 of the 104 patients experienced recurrence of their bladder lesion, while 51 remained free of tumor. The distribution of staging, grading and multifocality was comparable in both groups of patients. Overall, the tumors that recurred had a significantly higher proportion of labeled cells for PCNA (p ≤ 0.0001), Ki-67 (p ≤ 0.006) and 486p (p < 0.0001). The latter antigen proved to be the most reliable marker. A less significant difference in staining pattern was found for p53 (p < 0.01). Evaluating the predictive value of the various antibodies separately for the groups with Gl vs. G2 carcinomas and pTa vs. pTl tumors revealed a lower significance for all antibodies. The technique of immunostaining on paraffin sections facilitates further retrospective studies on archival material. These markers may provide additional information about the probability of recurrence of superficial bladder tumors. But at the moment they should only be utilized in selected cases.