MONDAY, April 26, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- It may be possible to develop a urine test to screen for colon cancer, a new study suggests.
Researchers analyzed urine samples from 60 people with colon cancer and 63 cancer-free people. They identified unusual levels of 16 substances in the urine of the cancer patients, including elevated levels of tryptophan, one of the 22 amino acids found in proteins.
The findings demonstrate the potential of using a urine test as a way to diagnose colon cancer, Wei Jia, of the department of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and colleagues wrote.
The study is published in the Journal of Proteome Research.
A urine test may complement or even reduce the need for colonoscopy, which is the most effective method for early screening of colon cancer. However, colonoscopy can be unpleasant, costly and time-consuming for patients, according to the researchers.
Colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the United States.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about colorectal cancer screening.