“Dogs trained to detect prostate cancer with more than 90% accuracy,” The Guardian reports.
Two trained bomb-sniffing dogs also proved remarkably successful in detecting compounds associated with prostate cancer in urine samples.
This headline is based on research that trained two explosive-detection sniffer dogs to identify the urine samples of men with prostate cancer.
They then tested the dogs on urine samples from 332 men with the condition and 540 controls without the condition, most of whom were men.
One dog correctly identified all the samples from men with prostate cancer, and the other dog identified 98.6% of them.
The dogs incorrectly identified between one and four percent of the control samples as being from men with prostate cancer (“false positives”).
Some of the samples in the study were used for training the dogs and assessing their performance, and ideally the study would be repeated with entirely new samples to confirm the results.
This study suggests dogs can be trained to differentiate between urine samples from men known to have prostate cancer and people without the condition.
But further testing should be carried out to test whether the dogs can accurately detect men with prostate cancer who are not yet known to have the disease.
It seems unlikely that dogs would be routinely used on a widespread basis to detect prostate cancer.
If researchers can identify the exact chemical(s) the dogs are detecting in urine, they could try to develop methods to detect them.