Researchers at Aarhus University Hospital and Aarhus University have developed a new method using a simple urine test to detect prostate cancer.

A urine sample can with high accuracy be used to distinguish between healthy men and patients with prostate cancer. Researchers from Department of Molecular Medicine at Aarhus University Hospital and Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University have developed the method.

Moreover, the researchers have also made it possible to distinguish between the aggressive and more slowly progressing types of prostate cancer by measuring the level of small pieces of RNA (microRNA) in urine samples from approx. 500 patients. This knowledge is an important indicator for the type of treatment needed.

- We hope this knowledge in future can be used to develop a test and in this way reduce the number of unneccessary prostate biopsies, says Karina Dalsgaard Sørensen, professor at Department of Molecular Medicine.

-The test will guide medical decision on whether surgery is needed and in this way doctors can tailor the treatment to meet the individual patient's needs.

The results of this project have just been published in a leading international journal, European Urology Focus. The project has been made by Jacob Fredsøe, postdoc and Karina Dalsgaard Sørensen, professor both from Department of Molecular Medicine at Aarhus University Hospital in collaboration with the company Exiqon and researchers from Department of Urology and Department of Pathology at Aarhus University Hospital. The project is supported financially by Innovation Fund Denmark and The Danish Cancer Society.

Illustration: Jacob Fredsøe

Facts about prostate cancer:

  • Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men with approximately 4,500 new cases annually.
  • The prostate cancer diagnosis is often made on the basis of a high PSA (prostate specific antigen) count in the blood.
  • If prostate cancer is suspected, a needle biopsy from the prostate will be taken. This procedure is uncomfortable and there is a risk of side effects such as infection. Biopsy procedures should preferably be limited to those who actually need it.
  • Today, many unneccesary prostate biosies are taken because the PSA test is unspecific.
  • It is also difficult to distinguish between aggressive prostate cancer where fast treatment is needed and slowly progressing prostate cancer that men can live with for the rest of their life without having major symptoms.
  • Many men undergo unnecessary surgery involving serious side effects such as impotence and incontinence.


Link to original article

Jacob Fredsøe, Anne K.I. Rasmussen, Anni R. Thomsen, Peter Mouritzen, Søren Høyer, Michael Borre, Torben F. Ørntoft, Karina D. Sørensen. Diagnostic and Prognostic MicroRNA Biomarkers for Prostate Cancer in Cell-free Urine. European Urology Focus, 2017 (Epub ahead of print).


Further information

Karina Dalsgaard Sørensen, professor, Department of Molecular Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, e-mail: kdso@clin.au.dk, Tel.: +45 78 45 53 16, mobile phone: +45 20 64 43 63.