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    New Test Helps Spot Bladder Cancer

    Quick Urine Test Helped Detect Bladder Cancer's Return

    New Test Proved Helpful

    Grossman's study included 668 people who had had bladder cancer. All participants got all three tests -- cystoscopy (the scope), cytology (the old urine test), and the BladderChek test. The tests were done at 23 sites across the U.S.

    A total of 103 people were found to have bladder cancer recurrences. The BladderChek test and cystoscopy -- taken together -- were best at spotting bladder cancer's return.

    Cystoscopy alone showed 91% of the bladder cancers. But the scopes missed nine cancers. Those cases spanned several test sites, so they weren't one office's faulty work.

    The BladderChek test flagged eight of those nine cancers, including seven that were particularly aggressive. The old urine test (cytology) only spotted three of those cancers, the study shows.

    The BladderChek test wasn't perfect. In some cases, it could prompt false-positive results, the researchers write. Because participants were already scheduled for cystoscopy, none needed extra procedures.

    Other Tests in the Works

    In October 2005, Italian researchers reported promising results from another new test for bladder cancer.

    That test screens urine for an enzyme called telomerase. High telomerase levels may indicate bladder cancer, the Italian researchers reported in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

    Telomerase tests "have shown good results in early trials but are still in the investigational stage and are not approved for clinical use," write Grossman and colleagues.

    They add other tests are also in development but lack FDA approval and still require the time (and expense) of lab testing. BladderChek already has FDA approval for use in diagnosis and screening for bladder cancer, the researchers note.

    Last year, Grossman and colleagues reported in The Journal of the American Medical Association that the BladderChek test did a good job of identifying people in a smaller study who did and didn't have bladder cancer.

    Both of their studies were backed by Matritech Inc., which makes the BladderChek test.

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