Breast cancer is the most common type of tumor in women and globally, around 1.7 million women suffer from breast cancer.
Till today, doctors have made the diagnosis by mammography or ultrasound and confirmed it with tissue samples. However, these techniques have been subject to recurring criticism due to radiation exposure and erroneous results.
Scientists at the University of Freiburg in Germany have developed a new method to detect breast cancer by means of urine samples.
If the effectiveness of the technique is confirmed in further studies, it could serve in the future as a diagnosis method for breast cancer.
The study included 24 healthy test subjects and 24 women who had recently been diagnosed with a breast cancer. The patients were in tumor stages 1, 2, or 3.
The method involves analyzing the concentration of molecules that regulate cell metabolism and that are often dysregulated in cancer cells. These molecules, referred to as microRNAs, enter into the urine over the blood.
The scientists succeeded in establishing with 91% whether a test subject was healthy or diseased through determining the composition of microRNAs in the urine.
"We discovered that the microRNA profile in the urine is modified in a characteristic way in the urine of test subjects with breast cancer," said Prof. Dr. Elmar Stickeler, medical director of Senology at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and head of the Breast Center at the Medical Center at the University.
Dr. Stickeler said that MicroRNAs should be suitable in principle for a breast cancer test.
"With the help of the microRNA profiles, the researchers were able to determine with 91 percent accuracy whether a test subject was healthy or diseased. Our method therefore led to highly accurate diagnoses," Dr. Stickeler added.
The study was published their findings in the journal BMC Cancer.