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Comment regarding potential urine test for ovarian cancer

12 September 2018

Urine test

Yesterday it was reported that a new urine test for ovarian cancer was on the horizon. We take a closer look at the story.

Scientists from Hull University have identified a small protein produced by ovarian tumours in tissue samples and are currently testing to see if the biomarker can be identified in urine.

Although the news sounds exciting, it is important to highlight that the results of this research have not yet been published.

In tissue samples, the biomarker was detectable in 18 per cent of stage one cancers, 36 per cent of stage two cancers and 17 per cent stage three cancer samples.

The team are now testing to find out if the biomarker is present in urine samples of women with ovarian cancer, which will indicate if a urine test could be a tool for early detection in years to come.

While many of these studies show exciting early promise, identifying proteins in tissue samples in a laboratory is far simpler than identifying these cells in the human body. Until a diagnostic test has gone through the full stages of testing in animals and people, we cannot be certain that it works.

Scientific research requires robust evidence; vital for determining whether the diagnostic test is actually effective. Publishing this data then allows health organisations and medical professionals to judge the information for themselves and use it for the benefit and safety of their patients.

Early detection is our greatest priority in the fight against ovarian cancer. Women diagnosed at stage one have a 90% survival rate compared to 19% at stage three.

Click here to find out more about the early detection work you help us fund at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine by Professor Ahmed.