Researchers from Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK have revealed a new urine test that can detect aggressive prostate cancer. The findings were published in the journal BJU International. The new test was termed Prostate Urine Risk (PUR) and this would detect cancers requiring medical intervention within the initial five years of diagnosis.
The research studied the gene expression in 535 male urine samples determining cell-free expression of 167 varied genes. A permutation of 35 varied genes was determined as biomarkers that would be checked for by the PUR test.
The test would be able to categorize individuals into varied risk groups besides proving to be a non-invasive method of diagnosis. Individuals who had an eight times chance of not requiring medication therapy within 5 years of diagnosis would also be identified by the test. The advancement of the disease up to 5 years prior to its detection by regular clinical procedures would be predicted by the test which was a highly exciting feature.
Currently, identification of prostate cancer is done through a prostate biopsy besides some screening tests available prior to the biopsy mode. The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is one of them. Another is the digital rectal exam that shows cancer affected areas on the prostate. Though not so effective as the PSA it can sometimes show positive results in individuals with PSA levels within normal limits.
The PUR test helps in more ways than one; it helps in early detection of the cancer and also categorizes individuals into varied risk groups. This enables doctors to prescribe the right treatment procedure. If put into clinical practice, the test would reduce the incidences of initial biopsy for many of the men and also decrease the invasive and frequent follow-up for individuals with low risk of the disease.