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Test may detect early testicular cancer

Test may detect early testicular cancer

Danish scientists said on Thursday they had discovered a new method that could help to detect very early signs of testicular cancer. They diagnosed the disease in a 23-year-old man, who had fertility problems but showed no signs of the illness, by looking for a specific protein in semen. "This is the first time there may be a potential method of detecting testicular cancer in a semen sample," Christina Hoei-Hansen, of Rigshospitalet-Copenhagen University Hospital, told Reuters. She believes the findings could lead to the development of a cheap, noninvasive diagnostic test and perhaps a screening program for testicular cancer. The researchers had earlier discovered that a protein called AP-2gamma was found in testicular carcinoma in situ, a very early stage of the disease before it has started to spread. They were doing a study comparing levels of the protein in semen samples from testicular cancer patients and healthy men who acted as a control group. "When we were evaluating the first series of semen samples we detected AP-2gamma positive cells in a sample from one of the healthy controls," Hoei-Hansen said. The man was having a routine semen analysis because he and his partner had been trying for 18 months to have a baby. Further tests confirmed he had carcinoma in situ, according to the research reported in the journal Human Reproduction. The man diagnosed with the illness had surgery to remove the diseased testicle. He and his partner are now awaiting the birth of their first child, which was conceived naturally, according to the study. Testicular cancer affects young men, and there are close to 50,000 new cases each year worldwide, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France. (Reuters)

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