Home urine test kit makes detection of prostate cancer easier

Through the urine samples collected, the study found that samples taken at home showed biomarkers for prostate cancer more clearly than after a rectal examination

Detection of prostate cancer risk may become easier as scientists have developed a novel urine test kit that can help detect the disease within the confines of one's home. The test diagnoses aggressive prostate cancer and predicts whether patients will require treatment up to five years earlier than standard clinical methods.

The 'PUR' (Prostate Urine Risk) test could be performed on samples collected at home, so men don't have to come into the clinic to provide a urine sample or have to undergo an uncomfortable rectal examination, according to researchers from the University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

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This is an important step forward, because the first urination of the day provides biomarker levels from the prostate that are much higher and more consistent. The research team hopes that the introduction of the 'At-Home Collection Kit' could revolutionise diagnosis of the disease.

"Prostate cancer usually develops slowly and the majority of cancers will not require treatment in a man's lifetime. However, doctors struggle to predict which tumours will become aggressive, making it hard to decide on treatment for many men," said lead researcher Dr Jeremy Clark from UEA's Norwich Medical School.

Potential to revolutionise the detection of prostate cancer

The most commonly used tests for prostate cancer include blood tests, a physical examination known as a digital rectal examination (DRE), an MRI scan or a biopsy. "We developed the "PUR" test, which looks at gene expression in urine samples and provides vital information about whether a cancer is aggressive or 'low risk,'" Clark added.

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The research team provided 14 participants with an "At Home Collection Kit", and instructions. They then compared the results of their home urine samples, taken first thing in the morning, with samples collected after a digital rectal examination, the authors wrote in a paper published in the journal BioTechniques.

Because the prostate is constantly secreting, the collection of urine from men's first urination of the day means that the biomarker levels from the prostate are much higher and more consistent, so this is a great improvement, they added. The research team said the findings could also help pioneer the development of home-collection tests for bladder or kidney cancer too.

This article was first published on November 30, 2019