A new blood test known as IsoPSA has been shown to detect prostate cancer more precisely. These are the findings of a new study published in the journal ‘European Urology.’
Many men face the difficult decision over whether to be tested for prostate cancer when the current method known as Prostate- Specific Antigen (PSA), is fairly unreliable.
According to the researchers, the new IsoPSA test, is more accurate than the current test as it distinguishes cancer from benign conditions and identifies patients with a severe form of the disease.
The benefits of the current, painful test are controversial as it frequently produces inaccurate results that prompt men to have unnecessary surgery, putting them at-risk of urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction.
The researchers revealed that IsoPSA was significantly superior at discriminating between prostate cancer and benign conditions, and identifying patients with a severe form of the disease. IsoPSA could significantly reduce the rate of unnecessary biopsies by almost 50 per cent, the study found. Prostate cancer is the development of cancer in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system.
Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, some grow relatively quickly. Some prostate cancers are so slow-growing they do not necessarily require medical attention, therefore a highly accurate test that determines the need for treatment would likely be welcomed.
The ‘mailonline’ reported that the study, conducted across the United States, U.S., directly compared IsoPSA, to the current PSA test in 261 patients scheduled for prostate biopsy. A biopsy is a medical test commonly performed by a surgeon involving extraction of sample cells or tissues for examination to determine the presence or extent of a disease.
The tissue is generally examined under a microscope by a pathologist, and can also be analysed chemically. Study author, Dr. Eric Klein, chair of Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, said: “Despite criticism, PSA has transformed the landscape of early detection, screening and management of prostate cancer in the last few decades.
“Unfortunately, PSA is tissue-specific but not cancer-specific, leading to over-diagnosis and overtreatment of biologically insignificant cancers, which is widely recognised as a key limitation in its clinical utility.”