Scientists at the University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in the United Kingdom have developed a prostate cancer screening test that uses urine and can be completed at home. This new method, called the PUR test (Prostate Urine Risk), is designed to be used first thing in the morning and shows biomarkers associated with prostate cancer far more clearly than after a digital rectal exam. PUR can help doctors determine treatment. As in the United States, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, but doctors nevertheless find it difficult to differentiate those tumors that will turn aggressive as opposed to those so slow-growing they are no threat to the patient’s life.
“Because the prostate is constantly secreting, the collection of urine from men’s first urination of the day means that the biomarker levels from the prostate are much higher and more consistent, so this is a great improvement,” explains lead researcher Dr. Jeremy Clark.
He continues: “We found that the urine samples taken at home showed the biomarkers for prostate cancer much more clearly than after a rectal examination. And feedback from the participants showed that the at home test was preferable. And it should also result in a lot more patients being tested.”
Current tests for prostate cancer include biopsies, blood tests, cystoscopy (a thin tube with a camera and light on the end), a digital rectal examination, ultrasound, an MRI or CT scan – all of which require a hospital visit. An at-home option like PUR would be a huge boon for patients on active surveillance for tumor progression; only those men with a positive result would have to visit their oncologist. In the UK, the current protocol is for patients to come in every six and twelve months for a painful biopsy, leading to stress in the patient, plus an increased, and possibly unnecessary, workload for hospital staff. Researchers associated with the project added that similar tests for bladder and kidney cancers could be developed based on the PUR technology.
“Because the PUR test accurately predicts aggressive prostate cancer, and predicts whether patients will require treatment up to five years earlier than standard clinical methods, it means that a negative test could enable men to only be retested every two to three years,” adds Dr. Robert Mills, who was attached to the project and is Consultant Surgeon in Urology at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
In the United States, it is predicted that 174,650 cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2019, with 31,620 estimated deaths. It is more common among men 65 or older, and African-Americans. The average age of diagnosis hovers at 66.
Several NFCR-funded scientists’ projects are shoeing great potential in the treatment of prostate cancer, among other cancer types. Read more about their current work here.
If you’d like to support this life-saving work, please consider making a donation to NFCR today.
American Cancer Society. (2019). Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer. Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
American Cancer Society. (2019). Prostate Statistics. Retrieved from: https://cancerstatisticscenter.cancer.org/#!/cancer-site/Prostate
Healthline.com. (2019). Cystoscopy. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/cystoscopy
University of East Anglia – Press Release. (2019). Home urine test for prostate cancer could revolutionize diagnosis. Retrieved from: http://www.uea.ac.uk/about/-/home-urine-test-for-prostate-cancer-could-revolutionise-diagnosis
WiseGEEK.com. (2019). What Are The Different Types of Prostate Cancer Tests? Retrieved from: https://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-different-types-of-prostate-cancer-tests.htm
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Ronald Ball saysMay 13, 2020 at 10:25 am
How can I get the PUR test kit? My doctor is getting ready to do a biopsy which I really prefer not to have done. My PSA was 6.9 but I have none of the symptoms associated with prostate cancer. I get up once a night to go to urinate. It has not affected my sex life. I don’t have problems starting or stopping. Any suggestions?
Matt saysMay 15, 2020 at 4:00 pm
I had a low grade (Gleason 6) cancer last year which we decided to do Cyberknife as treatment. Would this test help me track the response to the treatment? So far only doing PSA and MRI to track progress.
Patsy saysJune 3, 2020 at 7:35 am
Where do I get the test kit
Wayne Schug saysJuly 28, 2020 at 6:33 pm
Where can I buy a PUR exam
Kevin saysJune 24, 2020 at 5:46 pm
I would also like to know where to get a PUR test.
Peter G Schuessler saysJuly 6, 2020 at 1:38 pm
How do I get the test kit
Ed Franks saysFebruary 20, 2021 at 1:42 pm
Dittos regarding test kit availability in US. I wand to acquire a few of the kits as well. I have recently tested a 5.9 PSA . I visited a urologist and discussed options, but am averse to having the painful prostate sample taken from the colon. The urologist declined use of the Engrailed 2 test saying they use the PSA method. Further inquiries of the urology community locally, concurred with use of PSA test regardless of high false positive rates. What is wrong here?
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