New more accurate test for Prostate cancer
The traditional screening test for prostate cancer is a blood test that measures the level of a protein called prostate specific antigen (PSA). A high level of PSA can be an indicator of cancer however it is by no means conclusive. The reason for this is that PSA is also produced by normal prostate cells. In addition, calculating a normal level is not straight forward as this varies from person to person. This often means that men with elevated levels of PSA undergo biopsies when they do not have cancer.
Now scientists at the University of Michigan have developed a new urine test called the Mi-Prostate Score to improve on PSA screening for prostate cancer. The new test incorporates three specific markers that could indicate cancer and studies have shown that the combination is far more accurate than PSA alone.
“Many more men have elevated PSA than actually have cancer but it can be difficult to determine this without biopsy. We need new tools to help patients and doctors make better decisions about what to do if serum PSA is elevated. Mi-Prostate Score helps with this,” says Dr Scott Tomlins, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of pathology and urology at the University of Michigan.
Researchers validated the new test on nearly 2,000 urine samples. Mi-Prostate Score, or MiPS, was significantly more accurate than PSA alone for predicting cancer as well as predicting aggressive prostate cancer that is likely to grow and spread quickly.
“This combination test is not designed to say definitively at diagnosis whether a man has aggressive prostate cancer, but it can provide a more accurate estimate of the likelihood of having cancer and the likelihood of that cancer being aggressive,” states Dr Tomlins.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in men in the UK. The latest statistics show that in 2010 there were over 40,000 new cases.