The Urine Test: So Many Messages in the Bottle

2009-06-30 | |
Last updated: 2015-01-18

Urine Testing For Prostate Cancer Detection

The two common tests for prostate cancer, a rectal examination and a urine test called PSA sometimes falsely indicate cancer in some people and fail to detect the cancer in others. The result is that patients will often require a procedure where a tissue sample is taken, called a biopsy, for direct analysis. Because of this, a test that is currently under development could be very helpful.

The new test, being developed at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, checks for levels of a chemical called sarcosine within the urine that has been found to have an approximate 80% correlation to spreading prostate cancer. The value of such a test is that it could allow doctors to better detect both the cancer and how aggressive it is.

Urine Testing For Lung Cancer Risk

Another urine test of interest is a test for lung cancer risk in those who smoke. As the leading cause of cancer death, lung cancer kills some 20,000 Canadians per year and 160,000 Americans. The test being researched at the University of Minnesota detects the level of one byproduct that is produced by the body as it attempts to break down the chemicals inhaled in cigarette smoke.

From the results of the research, the scientists found that depending on the level of this chemical in the urine, the risk of developing lung cancer was from 43% to 850% higher than for other smokers who had low levels of the chemical in their urine. As a result, even though smokers all have a risk of lung cancer, they could know just how bad the risk might be on an individual basis.

Testing The Urine Of Kidney Transplant Recipients

Besides the possibility of detecting some cancers, urine tests also offer the possibility of detecting other conditions. For those who have had a kidney transplant, failure of the transplanted organ is a potentially life threatening situation.

A new urine test of considerable value to these patients is a test to detect the presence of common viruses that have flourished in the presence of an immune system weakened by drugs used to prevent rejection of the organ. The researchers from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, found in their limited tests that 100% of those kidney transplant recipients with known viral kidney infection were confirmed to have the infection with the test. The test is valuable because it prevents the need for less accurate biopsies.

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Category: Disease Prevention, General Health, Medical Research

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