Dogs can potentially sniff out prostate cancer, French researchers say

Jun 02, 2010 By Thomas H. Maugh II

Man's best friend may cement his position if early results from French researchers can be replicated. A team of researchers from Tenon Hospital in Paris reported Tuesday at a San Francisco meeting of the American Urological Association that dogs can be trained to detect the characteristic odor of unique chemicals released into urine by prostate tumors, setting the stage for a new way to identify men who are most at risk from the cancer.

If developed, the test might be more effective than the now used because it would have fewer false positives.

As surprising as the idea might sound, other researchers have already been studying the use of dogs to detect cancers of the breast, lung and bladder. Many tumors release characteristic chemicals that can be identified by the exquisitely sensitive canine nose. cells, for example, can release such chemicals into the air of the lungs, and they can then be detected on the victim's breath.

Dr. Jean-Nicolas Cornu of Tenon and his colleagues trained a Belgian Malinois -- a shepherd breed that has already been used for detecting bombs and in other cancer tests -- to identify urine from patients with confirmed , then to differentiate those samples from urine from healthy subjects.

Finally, they used one urine sample from a prostate cancer victim and four samples from healthy people, asking the dog to choose the correct one. In 66 tests, the dog was correct 63 times. There were three false positives and no false negatives. That is, the dog correctly identified all the specimens from prostate cancer patients, but misidentified three from healthy men.

The whole training process took about a year, Cornu said, and the team is already training other . The researchers are now attempting to identify what specific chemicals the dog is reacting to in hopes of developing an "" that wouldn't require treats and potty breaks.

Explore further: Rare new species of plant: Stachys caroliniana

4.7 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sniffing out lung cancer at early stages

Jan 27, 2010

New animal research from scientists at the Monell Center and collaborators demonstrates that body fluid odors can be used to identify animals with lung cancer tumors. The findings set the stage for studies to identify potential ...

Ovarian cancer's specific scent detected by dogs

Jun 26, 2008

Ground-breaking research in the June issue of Integrative Cancer Therapies published by SAGE explored whether ovarian cancer has a scent different from other cancers and whether working dogs could be taught to distinguish it in ...

Metabolite Linked to Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Feb 11, 2009

Researchers from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have identified a panel of small molecules, or metabolites, that appear to indicate aggressive prostate cancer.

Canine cancer found transmissible

Aug 11, 2006

Scientists in England have discovered that when it comes to man's best friend, the age-old wisdom that you can't catch cancer isn't true.

Recommended for you

Rare new species of plant: Stachys caroliniana

Nov 21, 2014

The exclusive club of explorers who have discovered a rare new species of life isn't restricted to globetrotters traveling to remote locations like the Amazon rainforests, Madagascar or the woodlands of the ...

Mysterious glowworm found in Peruvian rainforest

Nov 21, 2014

(Phys.org) —Wildlife photographer Jeff Cremer has discovered what appears to be a new type of bioluminescent larvae. He told members of the press recently that he was walking near a camp in the Peruvian ...

The unknown crocodiles

Nov 21, 2014

Just a few years ago, crocodilians – crocodiles, alligators and their less-known relatives – were mostly thought of as slow, lazy, and outright stupid animals. You may have thought something like that ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Birger
not rated yet Jun 03, 2010
Swedish researchers came to similar conclusions a decade ago -the trouble is that the dogs get tired after a while (just like bomb sniffer dogs).

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.