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Dog sniffs out prostate cancer

PARIS, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- A dog can sniff out human urine samples of men with prostate cancer, European researchers said.

Study leader Dr. Jean-Nicolas Cornu of Tenon Hospital in Paris report a Belgian Malinois shepherd was trained in 24 months to be able to discriminate between control urine -- believed cancer-free -- and urine containing biomarkers for prostate cancer.

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Cornu and colleagues obtained urine samples from 66 patients referred to an urologist for elevated prostate-specific antigen or an abnormal digital rectal examination. All patients underwent prostate biopsy and two groups were compared: 33 patients with cancer and 33 controls presenting negative biopsies.

Cornu reports the dog completed all the runs and correctly designated the cancer samples in 30 of 33 cases. Of the three cases wrongly classified as cancer, one patient was re-biopsied and prostate cancer was diagnosed. The sensitivity and specificity of the dog tests were both 91 percent.

The study, published in European Urology, affirms prostate cancer patients' urine contains biomarkers -- volatile organic compounds -- and that dogs can be trained to detect these with a significant success rate. The study suggests further identifying these biomarkers could lead to potential useful screening tools.

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