This study examines the molecular pathways of cell-cell communication in chronic inflammatory processes associated with long-term low-dose urinary bladder exposure to ionizing radiation in people without major disease living more than 19 years in radio-contaminated areas of Ukraine after the Chernobyl accident. Patterns of components of the E-cadherin/beta-catenin complex, and transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression were immunohistochemically evaluated in urinary bladder biopsies from 52 males with benign prostate hyperplasia and 8 females with chronic cystitis (group 1). For comparison, 25 males and 6 females living in non-contaminated areas of Ukraine were also investigated (group 2). Fourteen patients with primary urothelial carcinomas, which were operated on before the Chernobyl accident, were included as a carcinoma group. Chronic proliferative atypical cystitis ('Chernobyl cystitis') was observed in group 1 patients. Foci of dysplasia and carcinoma in situ were found in 51 (85%) and 34 (57%) of the 60 cases, respectively. Chronic cystitis with areas of dysplasia was detected in only 4 (13%) cases of 31 group 2 patients. Statistically significant differences in immunohistochemical scores for TGF-beta1 in the urothelium and lamina propria, iNOS in the urothelium and both beta-catenin and E-cadherin in the cytoplasm were observed between groups 1 and 2 with marked expression in group 1. Furthermore, TGF-beta1 overexpression and alteration in E-cadherin/beta-catenin complexes in bladder urothelium might play a crucial role in urinary bladder carcinogenesis in humans exposed to long-term low-dose ionizing radiation.