Last December, British scientists developed a urine test to detect prostate cancer at an early stage. Now it’s time for bladder cancer. French researchers at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) a specialized agency affiliated with the World Health Organization, presented their work in the magazine the Lancet EBiomedicine.
Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase (TERT)
According to the authors of this study, led by Dr. Florence Le Calvez-Helm, this technique could lead to an early diagnosis up to 10 years before it can be detected with cystoscopy, an examination that requires general anesthesia and consists of inserting a tube into the urethra.
A non-invasive and economical test
In addition to its effectiveness in preventing bladder cancer more effectively, scientists praise the non-invasive and economic nature of this test. Its efficacy was evaluated on the basis of a prospective cohort study conducted by Tehran University of Medical Sciences with 50,045 participants of Iranian origin and followed for 14 years.
IARC researchers were able to access 38 urine samples from early-stage bladder cancer patients and 152 healthy people. The results showed mutations in the TERT gene up to 10 years before clinical diagnosis in almost half of the participants who subsequently developed bladder cancer. No mutations in the TERT gene were found in 152 people without cancer.
“Our results provide the first evidence from a prospective population-based cohort study on the potential of TERT-promoting mutations in urine as promising non-invasive biomarkers for bladder cancer screening. Other studies should validate this finding and evaluate its clinical utility in other longitudinal cohorts,” concluded the IARC scientists.
Every year in the USA alone, about 56,000 men and 18,000 women develop bladder cancer, and about 12,000 men and 5,000 women die from the disease. Early detection of any type of cancer can make the difference between life and death and having this new test added to the arsenal against cancer is a welcome step in the right direction.
In the case of bladder cancer when it is detected early the chances of survival are at about 90%. However, when diagnosed in the later stages bladder cancer survival rate drops to 10%.