Urine test accurate alternative to invasive biopsies in prostate cancer detection, study finds

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A urine test that measures cancer-specific genes for prostate cancer could be an effective alternative to invasive biopsies, according to validation study results published in the March issue of the Journal of Urology.

The study included 1,525 patients at academic health centers in community health settings. Of those, 338 patients had cancers that a biopsy detected and were in need of immediate treatment, meaning they were group grade two or higher prostate cancer. The study found 33 percent or 387 biopsies that detected either no cancer or slow-growing cancer could have been avoided if the urine test had been available to patients instead. The test would have missed 10 clinically significant cancers or 3 percent, according to the findings. 

The MyProstateScore test is based on earlier research that found half of all prostate tumors have a certain genetic anomaly indicative of prostate cancer development. Currently, the standard method for detecting prostate cancer is a two-step process in which patients undergo a prostate-specific antigen blood test, or PSA test. If patients are found to have elevated PSA levels, a transrectal biopsy is then performed to identify whether prostate cancer is present. 

"The data showed that this straightforward, secondary testing approach [MyProstateScore test] could reduce the use of more costly and invasive procedures following a PSA test," said Jeffrey Tosoian, MD, lead study author and clinical urology lecturer at Ann-Arbor-based Michigan Medicine.

Dr. Tosoian and several additional study authors are co-founders and have equity in LynxDX, a University of Michigan startup company commercializing the urine test. 

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