“SNIFFING” urine samples could help detect prostate cancer, ending the need for painful biopsy tests, suggests new research.
Currently, men who are thought to be at risk of prostate cancer, undergo a biopsy, that involves a needle being inserted into the prostate gland to remove some tissue for testing.
“The project has been inspired by studies that show that dogs can detect volatile organic compounds in the urine of men with prostate cancer with 98% accuracy,” said Mangilal Agarwal, principal investigator and associate director of research and development at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
“If dogs can smell prostate cancer, we should be able to, too,” says Dr. Amanda Siegel, co-presenter of the study results.
Researchers have identified the key molecules likely to be responsible for the scent of prostate cancer.
And now they believe they can be detected by chemically “sniffing” urine.
“We hope our research will help doctors and patients make better-informed decisions about whether to have a biopsy, and to avoid unwarranted procedures,” Dr. Siegel added.
The next step, the researchers said, is to carry out large-scale tests to validate their findings.
The researchers said their test could become available to patients and doctors within the next few years.
The researchers have presented their study results at the 253rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) at San Francisco, California.