Urine test accurately diagnoses prostate cancer

Nancy Ferrari

Senior editor, Harvard Health

When it comes to screening for prostate cancer, the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test has been the gold standard. But PSA testing is not perfect. It cannot distinguish prostate cancer from benign conditions that elevate PSA levels, for example.

In recent years, scientists have been trying to develop more accurate tests to supplement or replace PSA screening. One, which is still experimental, checks for the presence of PCA3, a molecule associated with prostate cancer, in urine. In February 2008, University of Michigan researchers reported developing another urine test that outperforms both PSA and PCA3 in distinguishing prostate cancer from benign conditions like prostatitis and prostate enlargement.

The Michigan team measured the expression of seven biomarkers associated with prostate cancer among 234 patients. By correlating the biopsy data with the urine test results, researchers found that four of the biomarkers were significant predictors of prostate cancer. In fact, the four together proved more accurate than either PSA or PCA3 alone, correctly identifying 80% of patients who were later found to have prostate cancer.

The next step: prove that these initial findings hold up in studies with more men at multiple institutions. Future efforts will also be directed at developing a urine test for biomarkers that might signal an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

SOURCE: Laxman B, Morris DS, Yu J, et al. A First-Generation Multiplex Biomarker Analysis of Urine for the Early Detection of Prostate Cancer. Cancer Research 2008;68:645–49. PMID: 18245462.

Originally published April 2009; last reviewed March 2, 2011.

Comments:

  1. Randy Marshall

    I have a prostate MRI indicating a tumor. I am not having a biopsy and would like to know if this test can tell me if the tumor is benign or malignant. Who is offering this test.

  2. Hello, is it possible to curior the urine sample to you ? Iam in Asia.
    Please let me know how do I get your service. and the cost.
    Text me please.0094722277265.

  3. Bill P

    Does this test replace the typical biopsy of the prostate – does it give a gleason score ?

  4. Randall Churchill

    How about updating this article and start talking about the EN-2 gene and the test for PC using this urine test now available here in the US.

  5. Steve

    Please, what is the test name and who orders it?

    Thank you

    • Tahirih

      Mi-prostrate urine test through the University of Michigan. You have to request your doctor to prescribe. We have just found out about this as well. I dont think my husband will ask his doctor at MD Anderson for the test but will ask his regular MD. Best wishes on your journey.

  6. Tony

    I would like to know what is the name of this new urine test please?

    Thnk you,
    Tony

  7. Tony

    I would like to know if this urine test is being done by your urologist or your general practitioner, because my urologist have not suggested this to me.
    Thank you for your help.

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