Other highlights in the July 17 issue of JNCI

July 16, 2002

Elevated Protein Levels May Be a Diagnostic Marker for Bladder Cancer
A new study suggests that testing urine for elevated levels of a protein involved in the initiation of DNA replication may be a tool to detect bladder cancer. The results appear in the July 17 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The gold standard test for diagnosing bladder cancer is cystoscopy, or an examination of the bladder through a cystoscope that is inserted into the body through the urethra. However, the test is invasive and costly, and the symptoms of bladder cancer (blood in the urine and pain when urinating) that could prompt cystoscopy can also indicate the presence of a less serious condition. A simple urine test, called urine cytology, to detect the presence of abnormal cells in the urine is also used to diagnose bladder cancer; however, the test has low sensitivity (the ability to detect disease in people who actually have the disease).

The minichromosome maintenance (Mcm) family of proteins plays a critical role in regulating the initiation of DNA replication. Previous studies have suggested that expression of these proteins is a marker of epithelial carcinogenesis.

Kai Stoeber, M.D., of the University of Cambridge, Gareth Williams, Ph.D., of University College London, and colleagues tested whether measuring Mcm5 levels in urine could detect the presence of bladder cancer. They tested the urine of 353 patients with urinary tract symptoms or urothelial neoplasia who were going to have cystoscopies. They found that the Mcm5 test had a higher sensitivity (i.e., was more likely to yield a positive result in people who actually have bladder cancer) than urine cytology. They also found that patients with prostate cancer had higher levels of Mcm5 in their urine than men without prostate cancer, although the authors caution that this observation was based on a small number of patients.

Also in the July 17 JNCI:
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Journal of the National Cancer Institute

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