Pair of proteins excreted in urine could lead to earlier diagnosis of kidney cancer: Researchers
December 31, 2015
About 50,000 patients are diagnosed with kidney cancer each year. And about 13,000 people die from the disease annually in the United States alone. A test that could lead to earlier diagnosis could make a big dent in those numbers, according to Timothy J. Eberlein, MD, director of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.
"One of the goals of the Siteman Cancer Center is to diagnose tumors as early as possible, when they are more curable," Eberlein says. "Most kidney tumors are found in more advanced stages, when the patient is symptomatic and less likely to be cured. These new findings open the door for a quick, noninvasive test and could revolutionize our approach to the early, accurate diagnosis of kidney cancer."
Morrissey says further testing will be required to determine whether people with other types of kidney disease also have high levels of AQP1 and ADFP in their urine, too. But based upon their findings, Kharasch and Morrisey have filed a patent application through Washington University's Office of Technology Management for use of aquaporin-1 and adipophilin to diagnose kidney cancer.
Because this study looked only at patients who already had a cancer diagnosis following an imaging test, Kharasch and Morrissey say more research will be needed to see how early in the disease process levels of the AQP1 or ADFP proteins rise and whether the concentration of those proteins in the urine might correspond to the size of a kidney tumor.
If the research continues to demonstrate that AQP1 and ADFP urine levels are good markers of kidney cancer, it may someday be possible for routine screening for the disease in a doctor's office, using a noninvasive urine test to determine whether or not they have the disease.
Source: Washington University School of Medicine