Scientists at the University of Birmingham have developed a ground-breaking technique that uses a urine test to help to diagnose adrenal cancer.
The test, which enables endocrinologists to distinguish between harmless and cancerous tumours, uses a biomarker tool to measure excreted levels of steroid hormones which are produced by the adrenal glands.
The breakthrough is reported online today in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
‘This is the first urine test for this application; we can detect the “hormone fingerprint” of a tumour and diagnose cancer faster and more efficiently than with costly imaging procedures,’ reports Professor Wiebke Arlt, who led the collaborative Medical Research Council-funded study with Professor Paul Stewart at the University’s Centre for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism.
Adrenal tumours affect around two per cent of the UK adult population and are more common with age. Hard to detect, they are often picked up from routine CT scans for other conditions. It is estimated that up to ten per cent of 70-80 year-olds have an adrenal tumour without realising.
A small but significant number of adrenal…
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