Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, have developed a new test that detects two proteins in urine that indicate the presence of early-stage kidney cancers.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, have developed a new test that detects two proteins in urine that indicate the presence of early-stage kidney cancers.1
These results were published in the March 19 issue of JAMA Oncology.
From February through December 2012, urine samples were obtained from 720 patients undergoing abdominal CT with contrast for a variety of benign and malignant diseases (screening population) and of those, 386 had a history of cancer and 334 did not. The biomarkers, aquaporin-1 (AQP1) and perilipin-2 (PLIN2) appeared to be elevated in patients with clear cell or papillary renal cell carcinoma (RCC). These concentrations were high in patients with cancer, but not in patients with nonmalignant kidney disorders (such as diabetes), so there were no false positives.
"These biomarkers are very sensitive and specific to kidney cancer," said senior author Evan D. Kharasch, MD, PhD.
In 2014, approximately 61,560 adults (38,270 men and 23,290 women) in the United States were diagnosed with kidney cancer and renal pelvic cancer. Kidney cancer is the seventh most common cancer, and the tenth most common cause of cancer death for both men and women.2
Renal cell carcinomas are very treatable when detected at the earliest stage, but until a recent urine test was developed, cancers of this type were usually detected as incidental findings on CT scans. Patients who exhibit symptoms, such as blood in the urine and abdominal pain, are usually experiencing a cancer at a later stage, so this test is very promising.
The test is also much more affordable than costly scans. Considering approximately 15% of kidney masses detected from diagnostic scans are negative for RCC, this urine test may help minimize the need for invasive procedures such as laparoscopic and partial versus total nephrectomy, percutaneous radiofrequency, or cryoablation techniques.
Detecting RCC in its earlier stages would mean shorter hospitals stays, faster recovery times, less pain, and lower costs-which are all beneficial to RCC cancer patients.
The test is very sensitive to these biomarkers so it can detect RCC before symptoms present in the patient, providing the best opportunity for early and targeted intervention.