News / Health

Urine Test May Improve Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

Genetic marker helps identify aggressive tumors

In this new study, the researchers tested the urine of prostate patients for TMPRSS2:ERG plus PCA3, another genetic marker associated with prostate cancer.
In this new study, the researchers tested the urine of prostate patients for TMPRSS2:ERG plus PCA3, another genetic marker associated with prostate cancer.

Multimedia

Audio
Art Chimes

Scientists have developed a new test for prostate cancer that may help patients and their doctors make difficult treatment decisions. But identifying the most aggressive and dangerous prostate cancers still won't be easy.

A widely-used blood test is often used to screen for potential prostate cancer, but University of Michigan researcher Scott Tomlins says it has its limitations.

"The PSA test, prostate-specific antigen, is just that - it's very specific for prostate tissue, but it's not specific for prostate cancer."

Men with a PSA score that is high or increasing may have prostate cancer. But the PSA result could also mean an enlarged but non-cancerous prostate gland.

So doctors often recommend a needle biopsy of the prostate. The procedure can be unpleasant, and worse, it often doesn't provide definitive guidance on whether or how to treat the patient.

So Tomlins and his colleagues are evaluating a new test that would identify a genetic anomaly that is linked to cancer.

"And what it does is," Tomlins says," it puts two genes together - TMPRSS2 and ERG - that sort of function as an 'on' switch in the prostate, that's what TMPRSS2 does, and then ERG is a gene that cause cells to become cancerous. And so you basically turned on a bad gene in the prostate."

Tomlins says this particular gene pair is unique to prostate cancer - it doesn't show up in normal prostate tissue, and it isn't found in other cancers. But it doesn't occur in all patients.

In this new study, the researchers tested the urine of prostate patients for TMPRSS2:ERG plus PCA3, another genetic marker associated with prostate cancer.

The men in the study had suspicious PSA levels and had been referred for a needle biopsy.

Researchers found that the urine test helped predict whether the high PSA score was caused by cancer, and also helped predict how aggressive the cancer was.

But Tomlins says that, although the new test can help doctors make a diagnosis and guide treatment, it has its limitations.

"I think the idea that you'll have a test that is 100 percent specific for cancer, it's 100 percent sensitive, and it will only identify the type of cancer that's aggressive and needs to be treated - I think that we are very far away from that, and I don't know if we'll ever be able to do that."

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid