A new blood test can predict a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer more accurately than the current standard PSA tests used by the NHS, and could reduce the number of unnecessary prostate biopsies.
The study, by Eric Klein of the Cleveland Clinic, has been published in the Journal of Urology. It included 271 patients who had blood drawn for analysis within 30 days of a prostate biopsy.
It was found that the new test, called IsoPSA, has a 94 per cent sensitivity for detecting high-grade cancer and a 93 per cent negative predictive value. The results showed that 47 per cent of the prostate biopsies could have been avoided.
IsoPSA works by detecting and differentiating the different 3D structures of cancer cell isoforms.
IsoPSA may be able to cut down on the use of MRI scans, which miss about 20 per cent of high-grade cancers. Use of both MRI and IsoPSA together accurately predicted the presence of high-grade cancer in about 86 per cent of cases.
The new test should make things easier for clinicians. Currently available tests require that blood specimens are sent to a central lab, which then faxes or emails results to a doctor’s office. Wait times for results could be several days, which would not be the case with IsoPSA.
Dr Eric Klein, the study’s lead author, said: ‘This is an advance over existing tests and our ability to accurately predict the presence of higher-grade cancers so that we can avoid biopsies in men at lower risk.’