A new diagnostic test that analyzes samples of seminal fluid could help detect early signs of prostate cancer, according to a study published in the journal Endocrine-Related Cancer.
As the current PSA (prostate specific antigen) test for prostate cancer may not be positive for non-cancerous conditions such as prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostatitis, the microRNAs from 60 men involved in the study were “surprisingly accurate” when using this type of testing.
“Biomarkers that can accurately detect prostate cancer at an early stage and identify aggressive tumors are urgently needed to improve patient care,” said lead author Dr. Luke Selth, a Young Investigator of the Prostate Cancer Foundation in the US.
After researchers analyzed the seminal fluid samples, they found a number of microRNAs known to increase prostate cancer risk. MicrosRNAs are small non-coding molecules that play an important part in controlling gene expression.
Researchers were surprised to discover that some of the microRNAs were more accurate than the test previously used with the PSA for determining if the men had cancer and if they did not.
The research also revealed that a micro RNA test called 200b - miR can help to distinguish patients with low grade tumors from those with higher ones.
“This is important,” explained Dr. Selth, “because, as a potential prognostic tool, it will help to indicate the urgency and type of treatment required.”
This tool could help to determine the severity of cancer and better access treatment needed for prostate cancer, according to Dr. Seth.
As prostate cancer remains one of the more difficult cancers to treat, early detection is key. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI,) more than 200,000 new prostate cancer cases are reported in American hospitals annually, with about 30,000 patients killed by the disease each year.
Science World Report