Urine test detects aggressive prostate cancer with few false negatives

Feb. 12, 2021

A urine test based on research at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center could have avoided one third of unnecessary prostate cancer biopsies while failing to detect only a small number of cancers, according to a validation study that included more than 1,500 patients, according to a news release from the university.

The findings appear in the March issue of the Journal of Urology.

The MyProstateScore test, which is being commercialized by LynxDX, a U-M startup company, measures levels of cancer-specific genes in a patient’s urine. It is based on U-M research that discovered that half of all prostate tumors harbor a certain genetic anomaly in which the genes TMPRSS2 and ERG relocate on a chromosome and fuse together – creating an on-switch for prostate cancer development.

“Our ultimate goal was to determine whether the MyProstateScore test could be a practical, reliable test that could rule out the need for more costly or invasive testing in men referred for a prostate biopsy,” says study lead author Jeffrey Tosoian, MD, MPH, Clinical Lecturer in Urology at Michigan Medicine.

Tosoian and two of his co-authors were founders of LynxDX and hold an equity stake in the company.

The validation study included patients seen at academic health centers and in community health settings. Among these 1,525 patients, 338 – 22 percent – had cancers detected on biopsy that were group grade 2 or higher, meaning they were serious enough to warrant immediate treatment.

If the MyProstateScore test had been available to patients in the study, 387 biopsies that found no cancer or slow-growing cancer could have been avoided, the study found. Meanwhile, the test would have missed only 10 clinically significant cancers that would have warranted immediate treatment.

Visit the University of Michigan for more news.

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