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Study may encourage testing for urinary tract cancer

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

A recent study that links a higher risk of urinary tract cancer to a carcinogen found in some Chinese herbal products such as guan mu-tong may encourage more widespread testing of the disease.

In 2001, the FDA recommended that consumers discontinue their use of any products, typical botanicals, which contained the aristolochic acid.

Now, Taiwanese researchers are striving to pinpoint the effects of the carcinogen on the body and identify those most at risk for developing cancer.

A report appearing on the December 21 online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute described the study of about 4,500 people in Taiwan who had recently been diagnosed with urinary tract cancer and as well as a random sample of more than 170,000 people throughout the country, Science Daily reports.

An increased risk of urinary tract cancer was found in people who had been prescribed more than 60 grams of the herb mu-tong and in those who had consumed about 150 milligrams or more of aristolochic acid.

The researchers wrote "Patients with a history of aristolochic acid nephropathy or consumption of mu-tong should be monitored regularly for urinary cancer."

According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 70,000 new cases of urinary cancer were reported in 2009.

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