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Researchers have discovered how to detect bladder cancer 10 years before it starts

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An inexpensive urine test that simplifies screening for bladder cancer well before the first symptoms appear has been developed, the International Agency for Research on Cancer says. This non-invasive technique highlights biomarkers that can be detected in the urine, including certain genetic mutations.

A simple, non-invasive method of screening for bladder cancer before onset first symptoms has been discovered, presented in a study by the International Cancer Research Center based in Lyon (IARC), the results of which have been published in the EBioMedicine journal.

A test under validation

Scientists say it is enough to do a simple urine test to identify genetic mutations that predict the development of the pathology. The test results of the test “are a promising step towards validating a non-invasive early detection tool,” said lead study author Dr. Florence Le Calvez-Kelm.

The new test is supposed to detect mutations in the reverse transcriptase telomerase gene (TERT), which often precede bladder cancer. Another advantage of this method is its cost-effectiveness and safety, which is suitable for people at risk.

Currently, there is no test that can detect the disease with a high rate of accuracy, cystoscopy remaining an invasive and expensive procedure. To do this, a thin tube with a lens is inserted into the urethra to examine the inner wall of the bladder.

The urine of more than 50,000 Iranians used

To verify the effectiveness of their discovery, CRIC researchers, in collaboration with the University of Medical Sciences and the National Cancer Institute of the United States, used the Golestan Cohort Study giving access to the urine samples from 50,045 Iranians, as well as monitoring their cases over a decade.

The mutations in the TERT gene, considered as biomarkers for future bladder cancer, were studied on the basis of urine samples from 38 individuals who developed bladder cancer 10 years after collection, as well as on a control group comprising 152 healthy people. It should be noted that the tests were carried out at the time when the patients showed no symptoms of the pathology.

Study results show that 46.7% of people who later developed bladder cancer had mutations of the TERT gene. As for the other group, no such mutation was detected.

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