Daily Mail

New test can spot which prostate cancers are most deadly

- By Xantha Leatham Science Correspond­ent

A TEST that spots dangerous prostate cancer tumours has been developed by doctors.

Current methods mean that differenti­ating between harmless and aggressive prostate tumours is incredibly difficult – especially at an early stage.

For some men, the tumour can be lethal, while in others they grow slowly and may never cause any problems.

As a result, as many as 20,000 men a year undergo unnecessar­y surgery or radiothera­py.

Currently, doctors can determine the size of a tumour – but not how active it is – by giving a patient an injection of a special solution and then an MRI scan.

But in a trial, Cambridge University researcher­s attached a


non-radioactiv­e form of carbon, called carbon-13, to a sugar-like molecule and injected it into a vein near the tumour. They discovered that if the carbon-13 was retained by the tumour, it indicated there was a high amount of lactate being produced – a sign that the cancer is aggressive.

Dr Nikita Sushentsev, who was involved in the study, said the breakthrou­gh puts doctors one step closer to being able to ‘distinguis­h the tigers from pussycats’ in prostate cancer.

About 52,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in the UK and roughly 30,000 of those have low-risk tumours. The Daily Mail has campaigned for an urgent improvemen­t in prostate cancer treatments and diagnosis.

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