Although conventional white light endoscopy (WLE) is currently the gold standard for diagnosing bladder tumors, rates of false negative results and residual tumors after transurethral resection are relatively high. The goal of the present clinical study is to investigate whether using new water soluble hypericin (PVP-hypericin) as a fluorescent dye improves bladder cancer detection and diagnosis. Following instillation of PVP-hypericin (total amount of 0.25 mg hypericin bound to 25 mg polyvinylpoyrrolidone [PVP], reconstituted in 50 mL phys. sodium chloride solution), WLE and fluorescence cystoscopy (photodynamic diagnosis; PDD) were performed on patients with suspected primary or recurrent bladder malignancies (n = 57). Incubation time was 1-2 h and biopsies (n = 163) were taken from fluorescing regions and/or from regions which were suspicious under WLE. Histological investigations of the biopsies provided the final proof of malignancy (or the counterevidence). Results indicated that overall sensitivity with PVP-hypericin and PDD is significantly higher (95%) than with WLE (85%). The sensitivity of PDD in the diagnosis of carcinoma in situ (n = 12) was 100% compared with 33% for WLE. In the diagnosis of dysplasia, the sensitivity of PDD was 85% compared with 31% for WLE. PDD has a positive predictive value (PPV) of 0.75% and a negative predictive value (NPV) of 0.86%, in comparison to WLE PPV = 0.66% NPV = 0.58%. Biopsies were not taken from healthy tissues, thus specificity was markedly lower in our study (53%) than that reported in other studies (98-100%). As a conclusion, PDD using PVP-hypericin is superior to WLE in terms of sensitivity in the diagnosis of malignancies of the bladder. Results suggest that PVP-hypericin is a promising formulation for various diagnostic and therapeutic applications.