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Urine Tests May Help Identify Aggressive Bladder Cancer

Update Date: Nov 29, 2013 11:44 AM EST

Urine tests may recognize aggressive and less aggressive bladder cancers, a new study suggests.

Researchers said that urine tests could help doctors identify patients with the most advanced and aggressive forms of bladder cancer so they could speed up their treatment.

The latest study measured the levels of a protein shed by the bladder tumor in 600 patients, and linked higher levels of the EpCAM protein to more aggressive cancers.

"This protein could be used to help doctors to decide what the best course of investigation or treatment for the patients is, and may prevent unnecessary delays," researcher Dr. Douglas Ward of the University of Birmingham said in a news release.

"We've known for some time that the protein EpCAM is released from some tumour cells but it wasn't clear whether it would be useful as a way to decide the best investigation and treatment for patients suspected of having bladder cancer. We are now planning further studies to test the benefits of urine biomarker testing to patients and the NHS," he added.

"This research has shed new light on a protein that we've known for some time is linked to certain types of cancer. Developing a urine test to work out how aggressive or advanced a patient's tumor is could replace the need for more invasive and costlier tests used by doctors at the moment," Martin Ledwick, Cancer Research UK's head information nurse, said in a statement.

"Finding ways to help make tests and treatments kinder for cancer patients is just one of the areas that Cancer Research UK continues to fund as part of our life-saving research," Ledwick concluded.

The findings were published in the British Journal of Cancer

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