Researchers led by Dr Douglas Ward, from the University of Birmingham, studied over 600 patients suffering from varying grades of bladder cancer and analyzed their tumors, measuring the levels of a specific protein, EpCAM, shed by the tumors and found that higher levels of the protein in urine coincided with a more aggressive form of cancer.
The researchers hope that their findings will allow doctors to provide a more personalized treatment for patients depending on the severity of their cancers.
"This protein could be used to help doctors to decide what the best course of investigation or treatment for the patients is, and may prevent unnecessary delays. We've known for some time that the protein EpCAM is released from some tumor cells but it wasn't clear whether it would be useful as a way to decide the best investigation and treatment for patients suspected of having bladder cancer. We are now planning further studies to test the benefits of urine biomarker testing to patients and the NHS", Dr Ward said.