Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have developed a new blood test for prostate cancer, which they claim is more reliable and better at detecting aggressive cancer than PSA, the test usually performed.
According to the scientists, the new test, which has been tried on some 60,000 men, detects aggressive cancer earlier and reduces the number of false positives and unnecessary biopsies.
Hans Gustafson took part in the trial, and the blood test changed his life — he received treatment on time and is now healthy: “This test meant a better and longer life for me. I can also enjoy seeing my grand-children grow up. That’s something I’m very happy about,” he said.
Current testing for prostate cancer relies on measuring blood levels of a protein called prostate specific antigen (PSA). But this can be unreliable, resulting in some men having unnecessary biopsies and can lead to men being diagnosed and treated for harmless forms of cancer.
To develop a more accurate test, the Swedish scientists combined PSA measurement with the analysis of some 200 genetic markers as well as clinical data such as age, family history and previous prostate biopsies. Their findings were published in the scientific journal The Lancet Oncology)00361-7/abstract.
Second most common cancer
“There’s huge interest abroad and we’ve been in contact with several countries, the U.S, Britain, Norway and Denmark. They’re prepared to start trying it (the test) as early as next year,” said Henrik Grönberg, professor of cancer epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet.
More than 1 million men worldwide are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. After lung cancer, it’s the second most common form of the disease in men.
As they grow older the numbers are rising quickly and it’s estimated that within 20 years, the global burden of prostate cancer “will have doubled”: http://www.nature.com/pcan/journal/v18/n3/full/pcan20159a.html#bib2 to more than 2 million cases.
Scientists hope the new test will improve detection and allow earlier treatment.