Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, and about 1 in 8 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. If prostate cancer could be detected early, the disease could be treated more effectively, and its death rate would be significantly reduced.
Michael Wang, M.D., Ph.D.
Chief Strategy Officer, National Foundation for Cancer Research
Currently, the two most widely used detection tests are the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, which measures the PSA level in the blood, and the digital rectal exam (DRE) test, in which the doctor feels the prostate gland with a finger in the rectum. However, both tests have low accuracy. The unclear test results often cause confusion, anxiety, and other clinical problems such as unnecessary prostate biopsies that may lead to pain, infection, and bleeding for many men who don’t have prostate cancer.
A novel test that has been developed in recent years, called IsoPSATM, will significantly reduce the anxiety and pain caused by inaccurate test results. Unlike the conventional PSA test, which only measures the concentration of PSA protein in the bloodstream, this novel IsoPSA test can detect the different 3D structures, or the isoform, of PSA proteins that are specifically associated with prostate cancer cells.
A recent study, published in the Journal of Urology in March 2022, reported that the novel isoform PSA test is more accurate than the conventional PSA test, and it could reduce the number of unnecessary prostate biopsies by 55%. In addition to determining whether the PSA proteins in the blood are cancer-related, the test results can also provide better information to doctors on whether the cancer is high-grade and needs immediate treatment.
Although the novel IsoPSA test is much more accurate than the conventional PSA test, it is still a blood-based test that cannot replace the prostate biopsy, which directly takes tissue samples from the tumor. Therefore, a doctor cannot make a treatment decision only based on the novel PSA result. After receiving the results, people still need to consult with their doctors to decide the best procedures for them to take as the next steps.
This article was originally published on the Future of Personal Health website.