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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid