Could a urine test offer early cancer diagnosis?

10th June 2011

Scientists have claimed that a simple urine test could hold the key to early cancer diagnosis for certain strains of the disease.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found that the urine of people with advanced stage stomach, gut and pancreatic cancer showed signs of the disease before symptoms began to show.

The move may well improve survival rates, as it would mean treatment could be offered before the cancer has spread, the researchers said.

Study leader Dr Holger Husi said: "The majority of these cancers are currently diagnosed late when no surgery is possible due to its advanced stage. Earlier diagnosis would mean that curative surgery or chemotherapy would be possible for more patients."

In the study, researchers compared urine samples from people with these types of cancers with those who had no cancer at all, and discovered key differences.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the rarer forms of cancer, which is uncommon in young people. Because it is hard to detect, only around 20 per cent of cases are discovered early enough for the cancer to be removed through surgery, according to Macmillan.

Posted by Phillip Briggs

1. Holger Husi. " Proteomic analysis of urinary upper gastrointestinal cancer markers." Proteomics Clinical Applications. 28th April 2011.

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