Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men, with more than 50,000 new cases in France each year. Even if urinary disorders, erectile dysfunction or a feeling of heaviness in the lower abdomen can put the flea in the ear, 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 for his diagnosis, considered unpleasant. Biopsies are also very expensive in terms of resources, while 75% of them turn out to be negative. The idea would be to be able to use a simple tool allowing, at home, to evaluate whether or not there is a disease. And if so, evaluate its level of advancement.
A new urine test
This tool, researchers at the University of East Anglia, England, think have developed. It is a urine test capable of analyzing gene expression in samples, subsequently recognizing the biomarker signatures of patients at risk. The big advantage of this test is that it has also been developed to evaluate the aggressiveness of cancer, categorizing it as low, intermediate or high risk.
A first home collection kit was 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 biomarkers of prostate cancer much more clearly,” says lead author Jeremy Clark.
And, incidentally, study participants also reported that this home test was much more enjoyable.
Select the most at-risk patients
These are only preliminary results for now, but developing an equally effective home urine test could really change the game.
“When we diagnose prostate cancer, the urine test can potentially differentiate between those who need treatment and those who do not, which 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 repeated biopsies and MRI scans. It’s quite intrusive. This urine test has the potential to tell us if we should really be involved with these patients. “
Thus, rather than having to go to a doctor or clinic on a regular basis for unpleasant and expensive exams, men could monitor the progress of their prostate at home, and make an appointment only in case of worrying results. Note that researchers also aim to develop the same approach for other types of cancers, such as bladder and kidney.