According to the latest study, urine can effectively be sued to detect prostate cancer. The research was conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan Health System. Dr. Scott Tomlins, who is the lead researcher of the study and a resident of pathology at the University, said that urine can be used as a deciding factor about the appropriateness of conducting biopsy at that point of time or later. For the study, TMPRSS2:ERG and PCA3, which are two genetic markers, were analyzed. The first marker is supposed to be the cause of cancer and is formed when a couple of genes shift positions and end up fusing with each other. This gene, however cannot be considered the sole factor for cancer since it does not occur in 50% of the cancer patients. Therefore, the other genetic marker has been used for the study.
According to Tomlins, research is being continued to find other bio-markers, which can provide a better platform for prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. The researcher also said that the test, although used extensively in the detection of prostate cancer, does not always provide correct results. Several times, the results are either false positives or false negatives. The low value of PSA does not necessarily imply that a person does not have cancer. Similarly, a high is not definite evidence that a person has been hit with cancer.
Urine samples were collected from 1312 people whose PSA test recorded high values. These men had also undergone biopsy or the prostate gland had been surgically removed. Studies were made about the two genetic markers. Volunteers were divided into three categories for the study – high risk, moderate risk and low risk. The categorized samples were compared with biopsy results, which showed high risk in 69% of men, moderate risk in 43% and low risk in 21%. The results of the urine test matched the biopsy results with regard to aggressiveness of the cancer and size of tumor. Urine test showed 7% with aggressive cancer among 40% with high risk. Results of the study are expected to be offered to University of Michigan soon.
Other experts such as the chief of radiation oncology at the Bringham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Dr. Anthony D’Amico said that the study was progressive but still has a long way to go. The test is still in its very initial stages and the US food and Drug Administration still has to receive the study for approval.