The term “honey-paper test” is often used to describe a type of medical test that detects whether a person has prostate cancer, but a new study suggests the term is an inaccurate term.
Researchers at the University of Southern California tested people’s responses to the question “What is the most recent paper you have seen?” and the results showed a surprising amount of variation among people.
The paper test has been used for decades, but researchers say it’s no longer accurate.
Researchers say the term may be misleading because it refers to a different test that’s often used in testing for prostate cancer.
The researchers tested 100 people in their late 30s and 40s, and the majority of them responded to the questions correctly, even if the answers varied widely depending on the type of paper used.
The authors say the results show people are not being asked the correct questions.
“The test may be more useful for measuring the risk of prostate cancer than a test for prostate-specific antigen,” lead researcher Jessica Haskins said.
“Because of the nature of the test, it may also be used in the diagnosis of other cancers.”
The paper-based test is known as a urine biopsy, and Haskkins says the term “paper test,” as it is commonly used, may be confusing.
“People often refer to it as a biopsy test because it’s the urine that you take,” she said.
The findings were published online Feb. 11 in the journal Cancer Research.
Researchers say the new study is the first to show that urine tests are not always accurate, and may be prone to misinterpreting the results.
The study found that only 1 percent of people who took the paper test correctly had a positive result.
“I would say it was quite a surprise that the test showed a positive reaction for all of them,” said study co-author David Pang, a cancer researcher at the USC School of Medicine.
“We’ve known for a while that the urine test is not reliable and accurate, so this is a really important finding,” he said.
More information: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17086491