Precision-Medicine Approach Could Revive Prostate Cancer Test

Excerpt:

“A new study led by researchers at UC San Francisco and Kaiser Permanente has identified genetic predictors of normal prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in healthy men, which could be used to improve the accuracy of PSA-based prostate cancer screening tests.

“Until recently, PSA tests for prostate cancer were considered an exemplar of successful early cancer detection leading to improved treatment outcomes. But over the past five years, a series of studies has suggested that the tests are not sensitive enough: frequent false positives lead to too many unnecessary medical procedures, and false negatives give men a false sense of security. In 2012, the was given a ‘D’ rating by the U.S. Preventive Task Force, and the test is no longer covered by some insurers.”

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Electronic Nose Sniffs Out Prostate Cancer

“We may soon be able to make easy and early diagnoses of prostate cancer by smell. Investigators in Finland have established that a novel noninvasive technique can detect prostate cancer using an electronic nose. In a proof of principle study, the eNose successfully discriminated between prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) by ‘sniffing’ urine headspace (the space directly above the urine sample). Results using the eNose are comparable to testing prostate specific antigen (PSA), reports The Journal Of Urology.”


New Approach to Prostate Cancer Screening Needed in UK, Experts Say

“The UK needs to invest in testing for those men most at risk of prostate cancer rather than follow a cast-the-net-wide approach targeting the whole population, a leading scientist argues. Men in the UK are currently entitled to PSA blood test for prostate cancer once they reach the age of 50 and will be recommended to have a prostate biopsy if their PSA level is greater than their age-specific threshold. This practice leaves around 50,000 men in the UK having an unnecessary prostate biopsy every year which is painful, can cause bleeding and infection and rarely even death.”


When Cancer Care Is Too Much of a Good Thing

Some routine cancer tests and treatments can do more harm than good. Based on clinical evidence, the American Society of Clinical Oncology highlights cancer care that should be curbed in an annual Top Five List. This year’s recommendations include:

  • Not giving antinausea drugs at the beginning of chemotherapies that are only moderately likely to cause nausea;
  • Not treating breast cancers that have spread with combination chemotherapy—unless symptom relief is urgent;
  • Not monitoring for cancer recurrence with advanced imaging technologies—such as positron-emission tomography (PET), computed tomography (CT) and radionuclide bone scans—unless there are symptoms of cancer;
  • Not screening men for prostate cancer unless they are likely to live at least another 10 years; and
  • Not giving people targeted therapies unless their tumor has the specific genetic abnormality that is targeted.

When Cancer Care Is Too Much of a Good Thing

Some routine cancer tests and treatments can do more harm than good. Based on clinical evidence, the American Society of Clinical Oncology highlights cancer care that should be curbed in an annual Top Five List. This year’s recommendations include:

Not giving antinausea drugs at the beginning of chemotherapies that are only moderately likely to cause nausea;
Not treating breast cancers that have spread with combination chemotherapy—unless symptom relief is urgent;
Not monitoring for cancer recurrence with advanced imaging technologies—such as positron-emission tomography (PET), computed tomography (CT) and radionuclide bone scans—unless there are symptoms of cancer;
Not screening men for prostate cancer unless they are likely to live at least another 10 years; and
Not giving people targeted therapies unless their tumor has the specific genetic abnormality that is targeted.


When Cancer Care Is Too Much of a Good Thing

Some routine cancer tests and treatments can do more harm than good. Based on clinical evidence, the American Society of Clinical Oncology highlights cancer care that should be curbed in an annual Top Five List. This year’s recommendations include:

  • Not giving antinausea drugs at the beginning of chemotherapies that are only moderately likely to cause nausea;
  • Not treating breast cancers that have spread with combination chemotherapy—unless symptom relief is urgent;
  • Not monitoring for cancer recurrence with advanced imaging technologies—such as positron-emission tomography (PET), computed tomography (CT) and radionuclide bone scans—unless there are symptoms of cancer;
  • Not screening men for prostate cancer unless they are likely to live at least another 10 years; and
  • Not giving people targeted therapies unless their tumor has the specific genetic abnormality that is targeted.

Prostate Cancer Survivor and Leading Scientists Talk About Importance of Early Prostate Cancer Screening

Virgil Brown is a prostate cancer survivor who had his prostate removed in 2009 and is working to heighten awareness of the disease. His concern is that men at high risk of prostate cancer, including his 38 year old son, are not receiving prostate cancer screening early enough. A leading radiation oncologist, Dr. Natarajan Raman, agrees that prostate cancer is curable if it’s caught early. He does not agree with the recent downplay of prostate cancer screening by the American Cancer Society and would like to see testing with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test start earlier, at age 40 for men at average-risk of prostate cancer and age 35 for men at high-risk. 


Scientists Hope to Develop New Do-It-Yourself Prostate Cancer Test

Scientist at the University of California Irvine developed new technology that can detect a prostate cancer marker called prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) in urine. The technology combines protein receptors with pencil-like viruses, creating a sensor that is inexpensive, resilient, and easy to mass produce. Human clinical trials have not started yet, but the scientists hope to market the test as an at-home prostate cancer test, similar to over-the-counter pregnancy tests.


Multiple Medical Conditions Make Prostate Biopsy Unnecessary

About 20% of men have multiple medical problems that make it unnecessary for them to have a prostate biopsy. A study published online in the medical journal Cancer involved 104 patients and used written assessments of medical problems to identify men who would not benefit from biopsy to diagnose prostate cancer. The authors feel physicians should assess the number and severity of medical conditions a patient has before deciding to proceed with a prostate biopsy.