Prostate cancer: THIS test could prevent unnecessary biopsies for men with symptoms


Prostate cancer testGETTY

Prostate cancer: Thousands of unrequired prostate cancer biopsies could be prevented, experts claim

A prostate biopsy perhaps ranks highly on the list of dreaded medical tests. 

The common means requires sticking a needle into the prostate gland to remove fabric for assessment. 

Thousands of men who undergo the uncomfortable procedure, prompted by a positive prostate-specific antigen (PSA) probe, ultimately do not require cancer treatment. 


It is trusted the test can prevent procedures which involve sticking a needle into the prostate

Now scientists possess identified the molecules most likely responsible for the scent of prostate cancer, which could be detected by chemically “smelling” urine, a massive step towards minimising unnecessary biopsies.

Doctor Mangilal Agarwal, of the Knit Nanosystems Development Institute at Indiana University, said: “The idea for this out started with a study published in 2014 showing that bring up canines could detect prostate cancer with greater than 97 per cent exactness.”

He said his team had already been working on a sensor to sniff hypoglycemia on a individual’s breath as dogs have also been shown to do. 

If dogs can get a whiff of prostate cancer, we should be able to

Doctor Amanda Siegel

When the prostate cancer ponder appeared in the Journal of Urology, his lab set out to determine what molecules the dogs capability be sensing.

Fellow researcher Doctor Amanda Siegel said: “If dogs can foetor prostate cancer, we should be able to, too.”

Prostate cancer is the most frequent cancer in men and, in Britain, about one in right men will get prostate cancer at some nitty-gritty in their lives.

Early detection has been critical to saving the lives of scads men with prostate cancer. 

Prostate cancer: The cancer is the most common type among menGETTY

Prostate cancer: The cancer is the most workaday type among men

But diagnosing the disease can be fraught with challenges.

The home screen test that doctors use now to determine whether to perform a biopsy assesses PSA devastates in a blood sample. 

The prostate gland normally produces the protein in mundane amounts, but increased levels can indicate many different conditions not counting cancer, including prostate infection. 

As a result, the test is widely recognised as imperfect and often leads to unnecessary biopsies.

Dr Siegel said: “Currently, about 60 per cent of men who get a biopsy to probe for prostate cancer don’t need to get one. 

“We hope our research will help doctors and passives make better-informed decisions about whether to have a biopsy, and to leave alone unwarranted procedures.”

To determine which molecules wafting from urine could state prostate cancer in a patient, the researchers collected urine samples from 100 men withstanding prostate biopsies. 

To avoid issues that similar studies be dressed had with sample degradation, Dr Agarwal’s team developed a pre-processing staircase – adding sodium chloride and neutralising the acidity – to ensure the samples would linger intact during the analysis. 

Prostate examGETTY

A new test for the disease that encompasses ‘sniffing’ urine can detect the disease

They used gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to relate to the volatile organic compounds floating in the “headspace” above the urine tests. 

With this method, the researchers pinpointed a small set of molecules that played up in 90 per cent of the samples from patients with prostate cancer but not in tests from those who did not have the disease.

Next, the team plans to command large-scale tests at several health centres to validate their finds. 

Prostate cancer: Experts said tests could become available in the next few yearsGETTY

Prostate cancer: Experts said tests could turn available in the next few years

They have also submitted a suggestion for funding to confirm the molecular signature they identified by collaborating with a neighbourhood pub dog trainer and comparing their technique’s results to those obtained with a canine nose. 

The researchers say their prove could become available to patients and doctors within the “next few years”. 

In the short-term, urine tastes would have to be sent to a lab for analysis, but the researchers say their ultimate aim is to design a sensor that can yield results in a doctor’s office.

Their findings were due to be confer oned at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

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