Simple test to predict bladder cancer recurrence: study

LONDON: Scientists have developed a simple urine test that can more accurately predict bladder cancer recurrence than existing methods.

            Researchers from the University Hospital of Lyon in France tested the urine of 348 bladder cancer patients for a faulty protein called TERT, and this was able to predict when the cancer was about to return in more than 80 per cent of patients.

            The standard method, called cytology, detected the return in only 34 per cent of patients.

            The new test detected bladder cancers that had not spread to the muscle wall, earlier than cytology, potentially helping doctors to start treatment sooner and before symptoms appear.

            A further benefit is that the new test distinguished cancer from urinary tract infections.

            “The standard cytology test needs a doctor to look down a microscope to read the results, but the TERT test is read by a machine which is simpler, more accurate and available to use straightaway,” said Alain Ruffion, a researcher at the University Hospital of Lyon.

            “While the TERT test costs slightly more than standard cytology, it is likely to become cheaper over time,” said Ruffion.

            “The fact that the test doesn’t react to urinary tract infections is very interesting because it shows that it is robust and unlikely to give misleading results,” said Ruffion.

            The discovery also suggests that further research is needed to understand more about the role TERT faults play in bladder cancer.

            The study was published in the British Journal of Cancer. (AGENCIES)