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A new urine test can detect bladder cancer up to 12 years before diagnosis: study

A simple urine test can detect bladder cancer years before any symptoms appear due to genetic red flags, according to new research.

Using only urine samples, the international team was able to predict the most common type of bladder cancer up to 12 years before diagnosis by looking for specific genetic mutations.

The results of the study, presented Friday at the European Association of Urology’s annual congress in Milan, could revolutionize the way bladder cancer is diagnosed, researchers said.

“Bladder cancer diagnosis relies on expensive and invasive procedures like cystoscopy, which involves inserting a camera into the bladder,” said Dr. Florence Le Calves-Kelm, a scientist at the International Agency for Research on Cancer and one of the authors. study, it is clarified in the press release.

“Having a simpler urine test that can accurately diagnose and even predict the likelihood of cancer years in advance could help detect more cancers at an early stage and avoid unnecessary cystoscopies in healthy patients.”

Bladder cancer is one of the most common cancers. According to the Canadian Cancer Society’s 2022 estimates, about 13,300 Canadians will be diagnosed with bladder cancer and about 2,500 will die from it in a year.

It can also have subtle or delayed symptoms, or even be symptom-free for years. It the most common symptom blood in the urine

For this new study, the researchers started with a urine test called the UroAmp test, developed by Convergent Genomics, an Oregon Health Science University spinoff company. It is able to identify mutations of 60 genes.

By examining previous studies examining which genetic mutations are often present in bladder cancer patients, the researchers were able to identify just ten gene mutations as the most important.

To test whether their new specific urine test is actually able to predict cancer or not, the researchers used samples from the Golestan Cohort Study, a population study conducted by Tehran University of Medical Sciences that followed the health of nearly 50,000 adults. more than a decade.

Participants were recruited into the cohort between 2004 and 2008 and provided a urine sample as part of their baseline assessment before returning for annual follow-up visits to track their health over time.

In this new study, researchers ran these urine samples through a urine test and then looked at the follow-up data to see if any participants developed bladder cancer later in life.

Forty participants developed bladder cancer at some point since joining the cohort, and the researchers were able to test urine samples from 29 of them.

Of these 29 participants, the test was able to predict future bladder cancer in 19 of them, or 66 percent.

Of the 10 people who developed bladder cancer but had a negative urine test, none had been diagnosed six years before the urine sample was given.

The researchers also tested the urine of 98 people who had never developed bladder cancer to see how the test evaluated someone who was not going to develop cancer in the next decade. For 94 of these participants, the test was accurately negative, giving it 96 percent accuracy in this section of the test.

The researchers also tested the new urine test using samples from 70 bladder cancer patients and 96 control patients without bladder cancer obtained from Massachusetts General Hospital and Ohio State University.

These samples, unlike the previous ones, were collected shortly before the patients were diagnosed with cancer, some on the same day.

The specific mutations that the researchers identified as markers of bladder cancer were not found in 90 of the 96 control patients, but were found in the urine samples of 50 of the 70 bladder cancer patients.

“We have clearly identified the most important genetic mutations that can be acquired, which can significantly increase the risk of developing cancer within ten years,” said Le Calves-Kelm. “Our results were consistent across two very different groups: those undergoing cystoscopy with known risk factors and individuals who were assumed to be healthy.

“If the results are replicated in larger cohorts, urine tests for these mutations may allow routine screening for high-risk groups, such as smokers or those who are occupationally exposed to bladder carcinogens.

The researchers say the test is not yet completely accurate, but seeing such promising results with such a simple and non-invasive test bodes well for the future landscape of bladder cancer diagnosis.

“A simple urine test will be much easier for patients to undergo than invasive procedures or scans, and less expensive for health services,” says urologist Dr. Joost Boormans of the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam.

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