Tobacco use is the most common risk factor, which accounts for about half of the cases of bladder cancer . Researchers say there is now a more dependable, less expensive test to detect bladder cancer earlier.
Researchers tested the NMP22 tumor marker assay in 1,331 patients at high risk for bladder cancer and it was found that of the 79 patients shown to have bladder cancer, the test was about three-times more effective than a conventional laboratory test.
However researchers caution that it should not be used alone to detect bladder cancer. In order to provide an accurate diagnosis researchers say it should be combined with a bladder examination called a cystoscopy, which uses a flexible endoscope to examine the bladder.
In the study, the NMP22 test was more sensitive, but cytology was more specific and the number of false-positives was higher for the NMP22 test. But researchers say the high specificity of cytology is offset by low sensitivity, ambiguous test results, expense, and lag time to obtain reports.