Better prostate exam? Good dog!

LiveScience examines the way dogs save human lives – by sniffing out prostate cancer:

Doctors at Paris’s Hospital Tenon trained the [Belgian Malinois] dogs to distinguish between the smell of urine from men with prostate cancer and those without it. At the end of the training and study the dogs correctly identified 63 out of 66 samples.

Canine sense of smell is said to be 100,000 times more acute than ours, and prostate cancer cells may release distinct odors. Lead researcher Jean-Nicolas Cornu concluded that the dogs “are certainly recognizing the odor of a molecule that is produced by cancer cells.”

If the study can be replicated, the dog-sniffing prostate cancer screening would be more accurate than the blood test currently used, which detects elevated levels of a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) protein and has a high rate of false positives.