Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the US have initiated a study to evaluate whether new urine-based tests that identify genetic abnormalities present in prostate cancer can help doctors diagnose and screen for the disease.

The multicentre trial will evaluate new urine and blood tests for prostate cancer in more 2,400 men over the next five years.

The trial will include men who are facing biopsies because of a worrisome PSA test, as well as those who are being screened for the first time.

A key component of this study will be African-American men, who appear to develop prostate cancer more frequently and who are at increased risk of dying from it.

Martin Sanda, director of the facility’s multidisciplinary prostate cancer programme said that the study goal is to determine if molecular urine testing can eliminate the pitfalls of PSA screening.

“The study will allow life-saving benefits of screening to be realised for aggressive variants of prostate cancer without over-treating patients who may best be left untreated,” Sanda added.

The study has received a $3.1m grant from the National Institutes for Health.