Researchers develop a urine test for prostate cancer

Researchers develop a urine test for prostate cancer

Using a simple urine test men may soon be able to detect prostate cancer and predict if they might require treatment for up to five years, reveals a latest study published in the journal Biotechniques.

The innovative “PUR” (prostate urine risk) test which is developed by research team from the University of East Anglia(UEA) and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital diagnose prostate cancer by evaluating the gene expression in urine samples.

The test which is under development could revolutionise the diagnosis of prostate cancer, with its “at-home collection kit’ that enables men to collect and send samples at the comfort of their home.

PUR test evaluates the biomarker levels from prostate which can be detected from the sample.

For the test, the patients are required to provide the first urination of the day, as the biomarker levels from the prostate will be higher and more consistent in such samples. The test can also identify whether a cancer is aggressive or at low risk.

Blood tests and/or physical examination known as a digital rectal examination (DRE), MRI scan or a biopsy are some currently used tests for prostate cancer.

PUR test facilitate men to easily make a diagnosis without the need to undergo an uncomfortable rectal examination, says researchers.

“..Men would not have to undergo a digital rectal examination, so it would be much less stressful and should result in a lot more patients being tested.” notes lead researcher, Dr. Jeremy Clark, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School in a news release.

For the trial, researchers provided the cohort with an at-home-collection-kit, and instructions to collect the sample. The team compared the results of home urine samples, with that of samples collected after a digital rectal examination in all 14 participants.

Prostate cancer usually develops slowly and the majority of cancers will not require treatment. However, predicting which tumors will become aggressive, makes it hard for the physicians to decide on treatment for many men.

“We found that the urine samples taken at home showed the biomarkers for prostate cancer much more clearly than after a rectal examination”, points out Dr. Clark.

The feedback from the participants showed a positive impact with higher preference for home test, as it only requires the patient to retest every 2 to 3 years, if negative, relieving stress to the patient and reducing hospital workload, reveals the study.

Based on the urine test results physicians may be able to detect if the patient requires further intervention. The patients with suspected diagnosis will be under active surveillance programme following the diagnosis which may involve repeat biopsies and MRI scans, says researchers.

“..this test gives us the possibility of differentiating those who do from those who do not have prostate cancer so avoiding putting a lot of men through unnecessary investigations.” concurs Dr. Robert Mills, Consultant Surgeon in Urology at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

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