Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases and most serious problems facing Americans today. Some cancers, such as kidney cancer, are much more difficult to treat than others. Now, one group says that they have taken a great leap in furthering kidney cancer treatment.

Fox news reports on the new study.

Researchers say they can now detect whether you have kidney cancer earlier, through your urine.

Experts are saying that under current conditions, more than 80 percent of patients whose kidney cancer is not discovered until after it has spread will die within five years.

What do presently available tests do?

Current tests for the disease depend on whether a patient has started showing symptoms of the cancer, therefore early detection is rare. This new study, which was published Thursday in the journal JAMA Oncology, shows that measuring protein levels in urine may help physicians identify the disease early.

Professor Morrissey, who was part of the study, commented on the findings.

He said, “By and large, patients don’t know they have kidney cancer until they get symptoms, such a blood in the urine, a lump or pain in the side or the abdomen, swelling in the ankles or extreme fatigue. And by then, it’s often too late for a cure. Metastatic kidney cancer is extremely difficult to treat, and if the disease is discovered after patients have developed symptoms, they almost always have metastases.”

How was the study conducted?

Experts identified two protein biomarkers: aquaporin-1 (AQP1) and perlipin-2 (PLIN2). These were over 95 percent accurate in finding early-stage kidney cancers. The study’s tests also did not result in any false-positives caused by non-cancerous kidney disease.

How comprehensive was the study?

The authors scrutinized urine samples from around 720 patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, in St. Louis, who needed abdominal CT scans but were not suspected of having kidney cancer. Physicians utilized the scans to tell whether the patients had developed kidney cancer. Researchers also analyzed samples from 80 healthy individuals and 19 patients already diagnosed with kidney cancer.

Patients who had been told before that they have kidney cancer showed elevated levels of both of the proteins, but none of the healthy people had elevated levels of either protein. Around three of the 720 patients who had heightened levels were later diagnosed with the disease.

Researchers said the presence of non-cancerous kidney disease or other forms of cancer did not result in elevated levels of the proteins. Therefore, the urine test may also have the ability to help doctors identify when a patient does not have kidney cancer.

“Doctors today can use CT scans to detect whether a kidney tumor is present, but invasive surgery is the only way to tell whether that tumor is cancerous. According to the news release, the authors are aiming to develop a kidney cancer test similar to mammograms or colonoscopies, which have helped improve early diagnosis rates for other cancers,” according to Fox.



Gerry Oginski
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