What is the new test for prostate cancer?

The EN2 test measures the amount of a cancer protein called EN2 in men's urine. A small urine sample (around a tablespoonful) is required. Unlike other tests there is no requirement for prostate examination (the so-called DRE) beforehand.

What is EN2?

EN2 or to give it its full name ‘Engrailed-2' is a protein required for normal brain development in the unborn child. At birth, the body ‘switches off’ production of EN2 in the brain, but it is swithced back on by prostate cancer cells. Cancer cells that make EN2 can also export the protein into surrounding ducts in the prostate and from there it can find its way into the urine.

The test

Men are asked for a table-spoon full of urine, and this is passed into a clean tube. This tube is sent to the lab. The test takes around 4 hours. The test tells us whether EN2 is in the urine and how much there is.

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