Aggio et al. describe a gas chromatographic sensor-based (GCSB) system that can be used to classify urine samples from patients. So far they have tested this system in a pilot study involving 155 men who presented at urology clinics in the UK with sysmptoms of urologic disorders. Using theie GCSB system, they were able to categorize the men accurately into one of three groups:

  • 58 were diagnosed with prostate cancer
  • 24 were diagnosed with bladder cancer
  • 73 were diagnosed with blood in their urine (hematuria) and/or poor stream, but without cancer.

The researchers used differing types of analysis to explore the accuracy of their diagnoses. By doing this they were able to show that:

  • The GCSB system could diagnose prostate cancer with 95 percent sensitivity and 96 percent specificity.
  • It could diagnose bladder cancer with 96 percent sensitivity and 100 percent specificity.

These are very high levels of accuracy. Way higher than anything that can be achieved by PSA testing.

Obviously there is more work to be done here before any such system could be incorporated into the standard methods for diagnosis of prostate cancer, but a test like this that could indicate risk for prostate and bladder cancers based on a simple urine sample could profoundly impact the need for PSA tests, prostate biopsies, and cystoscopic examinations for bladder cancer patients.

This is definitely a space that we need to keep watching. For more information, see this article on the Medical Daily web site.