Lead researcher Dr Jeremy Clark, from the UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK.
“However, it usually develops slowly and the majority of cancers will not require treatment in a man’s lifetime.
“It is not a simple matter to predict which tumours will become aggressive, making it hard to decide on treatment for many men.”
He added that the urine tests could make monitoring of cancer in men “so much less stressful for them and reduce the number of expensive trips to the hospital”.
Secretions from the prostate, just below the bladder, naturally flow into the urethra and end up in urine. These carry cells and molecules from all over the prostate, and analysis of the urine is a way of sampling the whole prostate in one go.
The first of two urine samples is taken first thing in the morning, to include overnight secretions, and the second sample an hour later.
Participants in the study are in three categories: men who have had a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, usually at their GP surgery, and the result suggests they possibly have prostate cancer; men with low-risk prostate cancer that may progress to a more aggressive form; and men with a genetic predisposition to having prostate cancer but who do not have cancer at present. The men are mostly between 55 and 80.
Currently, men with low-risk cancer and on active surveillance are recalled to the clinic every six to 12 months for a range of tests including a digital rectal examination, PSA test, biopsies and MRI.