URMC Physicians and Scientists Continue to Play Lead Role in Determining Effective Bladder Cancer Screening Tools

Nov. 22, 2010
Study subjects needed to participate in international clinical study
Edward Messing, M.D.

Physicians and researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center are continuing their efforts to investigate and improve bladder cancer screening techniques through a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Edward Messing, M.D., chair of Urology at the Medical Center, and a leader of the genitourinary oncology team at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, is the lead investigator in the study, which also includes research teams at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and Laval University, in Quebec, Canada.

The study focuses on detection of blood in the urine (hematuria) through the use of the Ames Hemastix, a simple, at-home screening tool. Hematuria is a first sign that a tumor may be growing in the bladder. There is currently no approved screening method for bladder cancer, one of the most common forms of cancer, particularly among the elderly.

This study is meant to confirm the very promising findings of a preliminary study in which this test resulted in significantly earlier detection of aggressive bladder cancer, leading to reduced mortality in screening participants compared with unscreened patients.

Researchers are seeking men over the age of 60, with a strong smoking history, to participate in the clinical study. Study participants will test their urine for the presence of blood daily for two 10-day testing periods – spaced within approximately nine months - with the Ames Hemastix. A mail back questionnaire, completed at the beginning of the study, will provide information about the participants and the results of testings will be reported after each testing period. Individuals with even a solitary positive test will undergo a thorough urologic evaluation to determine the cause of hematuria and follow-up will continue for two years after completion of the study.

Each year in the United States, more than 52,000 men and 18,000 women are diagnosed with bladder cancer and it is the 4th most commonly diagnosed cancer and 7th leading cause of cancer death in American men. Smoking tobacco is the most important risk factor for developing the disease as toxins in cigarettes pass into the urine and damage the lining of the bladder, which can lead to cancer.

Messing is an internationally renowned expert in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers of the bladder, prostate, kidney and other genitourinary organs. He leads extensive research in the basic biology of bladder and prostate cancers. The study of bladder cancer is especially important in an era of healthcare reform as it represents the most costly cancer to treat over the lifetime of an individual.

For more information on the study or to participate, please contact Urology Clinical Trials at (585) 275-0126.