U.S. researchers moved one step closer to devising a simple urine test for detecting one of the most common types of cancer in men.

The test is designed to distinguish between benign and aggressive forms of prostate cancer, the BBC reported Wednesday.

The study, published in the British journal Nature, links a group of small molecules produced by the body to the aggressive form of the disease.

Researchers hope by testing for the presence of the molecules, it will enable doctors to determine whether the patient needs immediate action, according to the report.

"One of the biggest challenges we face in prostate cancer is determining if the cancer is aggressive,” said lead researcher Professor Arul Chinnaiyan, from the University of Michigan Medical School.

"We end up over-treating our patients because physicians don't know which tumors will be slow-growing. With this research, we have identified a potential marker for the aggressive tumors,” he added.

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