Bladder cancer is a common type of cancer that begins in the cells of the bladder. Now, scientists from France, Iran, and the United States identified mutations across ten genes that were able to predict the most common type of bladder cancer up to 12 years in advance of diagnosis.
The findings were presented at the European Association of Urology (EAU) annual Congress in Milan on the 10th March 2023.
“Diagnosis of bladder cancer relies on expensive and invasive procedures such as cystoscopy, which involves inserting a camera into the bladder. Having a simpler urine test that could accurately diagnose and even predict the likelihood of cancer years in advance could help to spot more cancers at an early stage,” Lead researcher Dr Florence Le Calvez-Kelm, from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said in a statement.
According to the scientists, the study was based on the UroAmp test, a general urine test that identifies mutations in 60 genes, developed by Convergent Genomics. However, the new research narrowed the new test down to focus on mutations within just ten genes.
The new test was examined using samples from the Golestan Cohort Study, which has tracked the health of more than 50,000 participants over ten years, all of whom provided urine samples at recruitment.
According to the scientists, 40 people within the study developed bladder cancer during that decade. Interestingly, the team was able to test urine samples from 29 of them, along with samples from 98 other similar participants as controls.
The trial through the test was conducted with colleagues from Massachusetts General Hospital and Ohio State University using samples from 70 bladder cancer patients and 96 controls, taken prior to a cystoscopy. In contrast with the Golestan study, some of these samples were provided by cancer patients on the day they were diagnosed, rather than many years before.
According to the scientists, mutations were found in urine samples from 50 of the 70 patients whose tumours were visible during the cystoscopy. Moreover, some of these were new diagnoses and others involved cancer recurring. Mutations were not found in 90 of the 96 patients with a negative cystoscopy.