Sniffing out prostate cancer

Written by Community Health Network on 6/5/2014 7:00:00 AM

Researchers believe that they'll soon be able to make easy and early diagnoses of prostate cancer by smell.

A noninvasive technique can detect prostate cancer using an electronic nose. In a proof of principle study, the eNose successfully discriminated between prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) by "sniffing" urine headspace (the space directly above the urine sample). Results using the eNose are comparable to testing prostate specific antigen (PSA).

Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in men. However, the heterogeneity of prostate cancer makes it difficult to diagnose and predict progression of the cancerous tumor. Both of the current cornerstones of diagnosis, digital rectal examination (DRE) and PSA have limitations. Therefore there is need for new diagnostic tools like the eNose. 

The ChemPro® 100-eNose (Environics Inc., Mikkeli, Finland) was tested on 50 patients who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer confirmed by biopsy, and 15 with BPH.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), is a common urological condition caused by the non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland in aging men. As the prostate enlarges, it can squeeze down on the urethra. This can cause men to have trouble urinating leading to the symptoms of BPH.

Results with the eNose confirmed that using urine headspace, the eNose is able to discriminate prostate cancer from BPH. The eNose achieved a sensitivity of 78 percent and specificity of 67 percent.

"The performance with the eNose matches that of PSA results in previous literature and the results are achieved rapidly and in a completely noninvasive manner," said lead investigator Niku KJ. Oksala, MD, PhD, DSc, of the Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Tampere and Department of Vascular Surgery, Tampere University Hospital, Finland.

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Source: Science Daily

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