Urine analysis could detect early signs of some cancers, research shows

Published: Feb. 18, 2021 at 5:08 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Analyzing urine could potentially detect some forms of cancer and be less invasive than other procedures, studies show Thursday.

UW School of Medicine and Public Health explained that the study, published in Science Translational Medicine, explains how urinalysis has been used to detect other diseases or disorders, but never cancer.

Researchers investigated if fragments of cell-free DNA could be analyzed to detect early stages of cancer, noting the previous belief that these fragments in urine were random and too short to provide meaningful findings.

The research team found quite the opposite; the DNA fragment patterns were not random and the patterns could help researchers differentiate healthy people from those with cancer. UW School of Medicine and Public Health noted that the findings could help discover pancreatic and certain pediatric cancers.

Dr. Muhammed Murtaza, who led the study, said that they are eager to continue their research, which could save lives one day.

“There are many steps between where we are now and where we want to go — confirming cancer from a urine sample — but without doubt this is an encouraging first step,” said Murtaza.

Researchers will need to conduct more tests in larger populations to identify differences in diseases.

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