Dogs sniff out prostate cancer with 98% accuracy

Dogs have an amazing sense of smell—so amazing, in fact, that they may be able to detect prostate cancer in urine. A new study, presented at annual meeting of the American Urological Association, showed that dogs trained to detect prostate cancer were able to positively identify it in urine samples 98 percent of the time.

The Italian researchers used two highly trained dogs to sniff out volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released from prostate cancer cells into urine. The study involved 677 participants; 320 had a range of prostate cancer stages and 357 acted as healthy controls. Using an environment void of any disruptive smells, the trained dogs sniffed out VOCs in the urine with a combined 98 percent accuracy. The dogs’ sensitivity to the VOCs was 99 percent correct and specificity was 97 percent correct.

Detecting VOCs in urine could be a new way to detect prostate cancer in men. And studies like this raise the potential for using dogs for early cancer detection.

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