Researchers have developed a home urine test that can diagnose prostate cancer. Details of the study are published in the journal BioTechniques.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men, with more than 50,000 new cases in France each year. Although urinary problems, erectile dysfunction or a feeling of heaviness in the lower abdomen can give rise to suspicion, this disease is characterized by its so-called "silent" symptoms. This is why, very often, the diagnosis is made late, which minimizes the chances of survival .
What also repels many people is the examination allowing their diagnosis, considered unpleasant . Biopsies are also very expensive in terms of resources, while 75% of them ultimately turn out to be negative. The idea would be to be able to use a simple tool allowing, at home, to assess whether or not there is a disease. And if so, to assess their level of progress.
This tool, researchers from the University of East Anglia, England, believe they have developed. This is aurine test capable of analyzing gene expression in samples, then recognizing the biomarker signatures of at-risk patients. The big advantage of this test is that it was also developed to evaluate the aggressiveness of cancer , classifying it as low, medium, or high risk.
A first home collection kit has been developed and tested in 14 patients . The results of these tests were then compared to those of a usual rectal examination. “We found that urine samples taken at home showed prostate cancer biomarkers much more clearly” , explains Jeremy Clark, lead author of the study.
And, incidentally, study participants also reported that this at-home test was much more pleasant.
These are only preliminary results for now, but developing such an effective home urine test could really change the game .
“When we diagnose prostate cancer, the urine test can potentially differentiate those who need treatment from those who don't. that would be invaluable , says Robert Mills, a surgeon at Norwich University Hospital. These patients usually participate in an active surveillance program after diagnosis, which may involve repeat biopsies and MRI scans. It's quite intrusive. This urine test has the potential to tell us if we really should intervene with these patients .
Thus, rather than having to go regularly to their doctor or to a clinic to undergo unpleasant and expensive examinations, men could monitor the evolution of their prostate at home, and only make an appointment in case of worrying results . Note that the researchers also aim to develop the same approach for other types of cancer, such as bladder and kidney.