Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK. It usually develops slowly and the majority of cancers will not require treatment in a man’s lifetime.
However, doctors struggle to predict which tumors will become aggressive, making it hard to decide on treatment for many men.
The most commonly used tests for prostate cancer include blood tests, a physical examination known as a digital rectal examination (DRE), an MRI scan, or a biopsy.
In a recent study from the University of East Anglia and elsewhere, researchers report that a simple urine test under development for prostate cancer detection can now use urine samples collected at home.
The test diagnoses aggressive prostate cancer and predicts whether patients will require treatment up to five years earlier than standard clinical methods.
The study is published in the journal BioTechniques. One author is Dr. Jeremy Clark, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School.
In the study, the team developed the PUR test, which looks at gene expression in urine samples and provides vital information about whether a cancer is aggressive or ‘low risk’.
They provided 14 participants with an At Home Collection Kit, and instructions.
They then compared the results of their home urine samples, taken first thing in the morning, with samples collected after a digital rectal examination.
The researchers found that the urine samples taken at home showed the biomarkers for prostate cancer much more clearly than after a rectal examination.
And feedback from the participants showed that the at-home test was preferable.
The team says the “PUR’ test (Prostate Urine Risk) could be performed on samples collected at home, so men don’t have to come into the clinic to provide a urine sample—or have to undergo an uncomfortable rectal examination.
This is an important step forward because the first urination of the day provides biomarker levels from the prostate that are much higher and more consistent.
The team says being able to simply provide a urine sample at home and post a sample off for analysis could really revolutionize diagnosis.
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