A team of European researchers have created an at-home urine test that could change the way prostate cancer is diagnosed. Scientists from the University of East Anglia developed a Prostate Urine Risk (PUR) kit that that can identify certain genes related to prostate cancer in liquid waste. The scientists worked alongside Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, which receives more than 800 prostate cancer referrals a year.
The new test said to be more sensitive than current methods and appears to be capable of identifying how advanced the disease is. For men suspected of having prostate cancer, it can rule out those who do not have cancer, as well as work out who has aggressive or intermediate levels of the disease. This would let low-risk patients avoid unnecessary therapies and the nasty side effects that come with them.
Prostate cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers around the world. According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 175,000 men will be diagnosed with the disease this year, and it will kill 26,000. The causes of prostate cancer remain unclear, but age, obesity and a lack of exercise are known risks. Prostate cancer usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs someone has it for many years.
A prostate cancer test which can be carried out at home and avoids invasive medical examinations could help more patients receive an earlier and more accurate diagnosis. To check their test’s effectiveness, the researchers gave 14 men at-home collection kits and asked them to use the test on their first urine of the day. Lead author Dr. Jeremy Clark, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said, “Because the prostate is constantly secreting, the collection of urine from men’s first urination of the day means the biomarker levels from the prostate are much higher and more consistent.”
The results of the morning-time home urine samples were compared with samples collected after a digital rectal examination. Dr. Clark said, “We found the urine samples taken at home showed the biomarkers for prostate cancer much more clearly than after a rectal examination.” Researchers said feedback from the men showed they preferred the at-home test.