The Daily Telegraph
New prostate test may cut need for biopsies
PSE technique proves reliable in 94pc of cases and could spare patients from invasive surgery
A new blood test for prostate cancer could spare men from biopsies, and reach accuracy rates of 94 per cent, research suggests. Currently, men with possible signs of the disease are offered a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test but they are unreliable. Every year tens of thousands of men undergo a tissue biopsy of the prostate gland as a result, but tumours are only found in around a quarter of cases, experts said. The study found combining blood tests with a PSA check was more accurate.
A NEW blood test for prostate cancer could spare men from needless biopsies, and reach accuracy rates of 94 per cent, research suggests.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among British men, with 47,000 diagnoses a year.
Men with possible signs of the disease are offered a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. But the tests are notoriously unreliable.
Every year tens of thousands of men undergo a tissue biopsy of the prostate gland as a result, but tumours are only found in around a quarter of cases, experts said.
The new study found that combining a blood test with the PSA check was far more accurate, meaning far more cases were detected, without going under the knife.
Researchers from Oxford Biodynamics, in collaboration with Imperial College and the University of East Anglia (UEA) developed a chromosomal test which could be combined with the PSA.
Publishing their findings in the journal Cancers, the team said the PSA test widely used in the NHS did not have sufficient accuracy, resulting in numerous unnecessary prostate biopsies in men with no cancer and “false reassurance in some men with cancer”.
A pilot study of 147 patients found the new test, called PSE, significantly improved detection of the disease.
All the men in the study had prostate cancer and the test was 94 per cent accurate.
The next stage of research will be to use the test on a group of men where the cancer status is unknown. The team wrote: “This new PSE test is accurate, rapid, minimally invasive and inexpensive. If successful in larger trials, it may significantly improve prostate cancer diagnosis.”
Professor Dmitry Pshezhetskiy, from UEA’S Norwich Medical School, said: “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and kills one man every 45 minutes in the UK.
“There is currently no single test for prostate cancer, but PSA blood tests are among the most used, alongside physical examinations, MRI scans and biopsies.
“However, PSA blood tests are not routinely used to screen for prostate cancer, as results can be unreliable.
“When tested in the context of screening a population at risk, the PSE test yields a rapid and minimally invasive
‘The PSE test yields a rapid and minimally invasive diagnosis, suggesting a real diagnostic benefit’
prostate cancer diagnosis with impressive performance. This suggests a real benefit for both diagnostic and screening purposes.”
Simon Grieveson, assistant director of research at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Earlier this year, research revealed that over 10,000 men each year are diagnosed too late, when their prostate cancer is incurable.
“That’s why we welcome promising new research like this into new possible tests which could help diagnose men accurately and at an earlier stage,” he added.
Claire Knight, senior health information manager at Cancer Research UK said: “It’s encouraging to see more research into new methods, but we need larger, longer-term studies to fully understand how effectively this will work in practice.”