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Urine test hope to detect prostate cancer

Monday October 18th, 2010

A new urine test could be used to identify men who are at risk of prostate cancer, researchers say.

Scientists from Cancer Research UK have found that changes to a protein, which regulates prostate cell death, is linked to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.

Their research, published in PLoS ONE, suggests that levels of the microseminoprotein-beta protein in urine could form the basis for a new test that will enable men to ascertain if they are at greater risk of developing the disease.

It could also be used alongside the prostate specific antigen blood test to improve detection of prostate cancer and for monitoring progression of the disease.

Lead study author, Dr Hayley Whitaker, from Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Research Institute, said they were excited by the discovery, which was made after examining tissue and urine of more than 350 men, some of whom had already been diagnosed with the disease.

“The protein is easy to detect because it is found in urine and would potentially be a very simple test to carry out on men to identify those most at risk of developing the disease,” she said.

Study author Professor Rosalind Eeles, from the ICR and The Royal Marsden Hospital, London, added: “At the moment, PSA testing is the best method we have to detect prostate cancer but it has significant limitations, so there is an urgent need to find new biomarkers such as MSMB that could be used in screening and diagnosis.”

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK. In 2006, more than 35,000 men in the UK were diagnosed with the disease. Each year about 10,200 men in the UK die from it.

Professor David Neal, prostate cancer specialist at Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Research Institute, said: “This is a vital piece of research that could go a long way to find a long-awaited and much-needed reliable and easy test to identify those men most at risk of developing prostate cancer.

If further studies show this marker can be used in the clinic this will be a landmark discovery.”

The rs 10993994 risk allele for prostate cancer results in clinically relevant changes in microseminoprotien-beta expression in tissue and urine. PLoS ONE October 13 2010

Tags: Cancer | Menís Health | UK News

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