New prostate cancer test could involve collecting urine sample at home

Experts hope to revolutionise diagnosis of the potentially fatal disease by creating an at-home collection kit.

Those who use the kit would then post the sample off for analysis.

The Prostate Urine Risk (PUR) test is for men suspected of having prostate cancer, and is much more sensitive than current methods.

It picks up how aggressive the disease is, at what point men will need treatment, and rules out those who do not have prostate cancer.

The test cuts down the need for other procedures, including biopsies, blood tests, a physical examination known as a digital rectal examination, or an MRI scan.

It is also suitable for men already diagnosed with low-risk disease who are on a “watch and wait” approach known as active surveillance.

For these men, the test could cut follow-up appointments from once every year to once every two to three years.

The urine test was created by experts from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The scientists say they have now developed the test further so urine samples can be collected at home.

This means men do not have to go into the clinic to provide a urine sample or to undergo a rectal exam.

The scientists say this is an important step because the first urine of the day provides biomarker levels from the prostate that are much higher and more consistent than at other times.

Lead researcher Dr Jeremy Clark, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “The PUR test looks at gene expression in urine samples and provides vital information about whether a cancer is aggressive or ‘low risk’.

“Being able to simply provide a urine sample at home and post a sample off for analysis could really revolutionise diagnosis.

“It means that men would not have to undergo a digital rectal examination, so it would be much less stressful and should result in a lot more patients being tested.”

The researchers gave 14 men at-home collection kits as part of a small study, and compared the results of their morning-time home urine samples with samples collected after a digital rectal examination.

Medics can currently struggle to identify patients with an aggressive form of prostate cancer who need immediate treatment from those who are low risk and put on active surveillance.

But Dr Clark said: “Using our at-home test could in future revolutionise how those on active surveillance are monitored for disease progression, with men only having to visit the clinic for a positive urine result.

“This is in contrast to the current situation where men are recalled to the clinic every six to 12 months for painful and expensive biopsies.

“Because the PUR test accurately predicts aggressive prostate cancer, and predicts whether patients will require treatment up to five years earlier than standard clinical methods, it means that a negative test could enable men to only be retested every two to three years, relieving stress to the patient and reducing hospital workload.”

The research team say that their findings could also help pioneer the development of at-home collection tests for bladder and kidney cancer.

Around 48,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the UK, and more than 11,000 die from it.

Simon Grieveson, head of research funding at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “This new test is early in its development, but has the potential to offer a simple, non-invasive way of predicting aggressive prostate cancer without the need for men to attend a clinic.”

Prostate Cancer UK and Movember, the group raising awareness for men’s health, especially for prostate cancer, are awarding funds to the scientists so more men can be tested, he said.

The test has been announced after it emerged some men with advanced prostate cancer could survive for at least two more years on immunotherapy, according to a new study.

2019-12-01T15:34:27+00:00By |

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