7 December 2019

Movember-funded home urine test for prostate cancer could revolutionise diagnosis

A new home-testing kit for prostate cancer which could revolutionise diagnosis of the disease which strikes 1.4million men world

A new home-testing kit for prostate cancer which could revolutionise diagnosis of the disease which strikes 1.4million men worldwide every year, has been developed by Movember-funded researchers.
The simple ‘PUR’ (Prostate Urine Risk) test can performed at home which means men who take it don’t have to come into clinic to provide a sample or have to undergo uncomfortable rectal examinations, according to new research [i]from University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in the UK.
The Movember-funded team pioneered the test which diagnoses aggressive prostate cancer and predicts whether patients will require treatment up to five years earlier than standard clinical methods.
Lead researcher Dr Jeremy Clark, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “Prostate cancer usually develops slowly and the majority of cancers will not require treatment in a man’s lifetime. However, doctors struggle to predict which tumours will become aggressive, making it hard to decide on treatment for many men.”
The most commonly used tests for prostate cancer include blood tests, a physical examination known as a digital rectal examination (DRE), an MRI scan or a biopsy.

“Guys tend to bond and connect over shared experiences and activities such as going out for a meal, a drink or watching a gig or sports match.”

Dr Clark added: “We developed the PUR test, which looks at gene expression in urine samples and provides vital information about whether a cancer is aggressive or ‘low risk’. Being able to simply provide a urine sample at home and post a sample off for analysis could really revolutionise diagnosis It means that men would not have to undergo a digital rectal examination, so it would be much less stressful and should result in a lot more patients being tested.”

The research team provided a small number of men with an at-home collection kit, and instructions. They then compared the results of their home urine samples, taken first thing in the morning, with samples collected after a digital rectal examination.
Dr Clark said: “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.”

Movember has agreed the next phase of funding to the UEA team which will trial the test on a much larger group of men.

Dr Mark Buzza, global biomedical research director of Movember said: “We are delighted to have supported the development of the PUR test under our Global Action Plan (GAP1) Biomarker project.
“We more accurate tests that will help clinicians understand which men are likely to need urgent treatment and which can stay on active surveillance.

“While it’s still early days, the PUR test has enormous potential to transform the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.”

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[i]  ‘Methodology for the At-Home Collection of Urine Samples for Prostate Cancer Detection’ is published in the journal BioTechniques on Friday, November 29, 2019.