According to a recent article published in The Journal of Urology, the addition of Immunocyt™ to standard testing for bladder cancer appears to greatly enhance accuracy of detection of cancer.
The bladder is a hollow organ located in the lower pelvis that is used to store urine. Standard detection methods for determining the presence of bladder cancer include urine cytology (the examination of cells in the urine) and cystoscopy (the use of an illuminated tube that is inserted into the bladder so physicians can visualize the lining of the bladder for any abnormalities). If abnormalities are found during a cystoscopy, the physician will remove part or all of the suspicious-looking tissue to examine for the presence of cancer cells in the laboratory. Researchers are trying to improve the accuracy of urine cytology in detecting bladder cancer and limit the use of cystoscopy due to its invasive nature.
Immunocyt™ is a test designed to detect cancer cells in the urine. The test uses 3 different monoclonal antibodies (proteins made in the laboratory) that are engineered to bind to small proteins and/or carbohydrates (antigens) found specifically on cancer cells that are shed in the urine. The monoclonal antibodies are attached to a type of fluorescence that can easily be detected under a special microscope used by laboratory technicians.
Researchers from France recently conducted a clinical trial to evaluate Immunocyt™ in the detection of new and recurrent bladder cancer. The trial involved 140 patients with recurrent or newly diagnosed bladder cancer. Patients underwent Immunocyt™ testing and urine cytology after being diagnosed with cystoscopy.
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Immunocyt™ detected the presence of bladder cancer in approximately 60%, 76% and 77% of patients with G1, G2 and G3 (extent of cancers) bladder cancers, respectively. Urine cytology detected the presence of bladder cancer in only approximately 18%, 46% and 64% of patients with G1, G2 and G3 bladder cancers, respectively. When the Immunocyt™ and urine cytology were combined, bladder cancers were detected in approximately 80% of patients.
These researchers concluded that the addition of Immunocyt™ to urine cytology appears to significantly enhance the accuracy of detection of bladder cancers, even early bladder cancers, over urine cytology alone and may become an important diagnostic tool for patients with recurrent or newly diagnosed bladder cancer. Patients who may have bladder cancer may wish to speak with their physician about the risks and benefits of Immunocyt™ or the participation in a clinical trial evaluating other novel diagnostic procedures. Sources of information regarding ongoing clinical trials include the National Cancer Institute (cancer.gov).
Reference: Pfister C, Chautard D, Devonec M, et al. Immunocyt test improves the diagnostic accuracy of urinary cytology: results of a French Multicenter Study.
The Journal of Urology. 2003;169:921-924.