Promising Test for Early Detection of Prostate Cancer

"This new blood test, when coupled with PSA screening, may help reduce the number of both unnecessary biopsies and undetected prostate tumours,” said Getzenberg Ph.D., professor of urology at the James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins.

In addition to being highly sensitive to prostate cancer, the EPCA test is also very specific to it, meaning that other cancers and benign prostate conditions are not detected, thus boosting doctors' confidence that a positive EPCA test is really a sign of prostate cancer, Getzenberg added. "Once this test is refined and approved for general use, it will have an impact on the detection and treatment of prostate cancer.”

For the current study, Getzenberg and colleagues developed a simple test that would detect EPCA in the blood and then measured the EPCA levels in 46 patients, including those with prostate cancer (twelve patients), bladder cancer (six patients), colon cancer (two patients), kidney cancer (one patient), spinal cord injury (seven patients) and noncancerous prostate inflammation (two patients), and 16 healthy individuals. The study was conducted at the University of Pittsburgh while Getzenberg was a member of its faculty.

The researchers found that EPCA levels were high in eleven of twelve prostate cancer patients (92 percent) and low in all of the healthy individuals. Only two bladder cancer patients and none of the other patients had elevated EPCA levels, suggesting that for this study, the test was correct 94 percent of the time.

For comparison, only one-quarter of patients who undergo biopsies because they have elevated PSA values are actually positive for prostate cancer, while as many as 15 percent of those with low PSA values were found to have prostate cancer as detected by biopsy, according to Getzenberg.

MEDICA.de; Source: Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions