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Prostate cancer blog: New Test May Improve Prostate Cancer Detection

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Sep 21, 2005

New Test May Improve Prostate Cancer Detection

New Test May Improve Prostate Cancer DetectionA new test that looks at the immune system's response to prostate cancer is better at diagnosing the malignancy than the current standard, the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, as per findings from a new study.

This test could someday be used to answer the most critical question when prostate cancer is diagnosed - whether the tumor is so aggressive that surgery should be done, or whether watchful waiting will do, says Dr. Arul M. Chinnaiyan, a professor of pathology at the University of Michigan Medical School, who led the study. These findings are published in the Sept. 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

"What we are doing is taking advantage of the body's immune system, which ordinarily responds to anything foreign - viruses, bacteria, cancer," Chinnaiyan said. "As part of that response, the immune system produces antibodies against cancer proteins."

Chinnaiyan and his colleagues took samples of DNA from prostate cancer cells and put them into a virus. The cancer DNA produces proteins that differ from the proteins normally found in the body. The researchers then put the information about 22 of those cancer proteins onto an electronic chip and tested 128 blood samples, 60 from men with prostate cancer, 68 from men without the cancer.

The test did better at detecting prostate cancer than a PSA test conducted on the same samples - 93 percent accuracy for the new test, compared to 80 percent accuracy for the PSA test, the researchers reported.

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Prostate cancer
The prostate gland is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum in male. The tube that carries urine runs through the prostate. The prostate contains cells that make some of the seminal fluid. This fluid protects and nourishes the sperm. Prostate cancer usually starts in the gland cells of the prostate. This kind of cancer is known as adenocarcinoma. Prostate cancer is usually a slow disease, but sometimes it can grow fast and spread quickly to other organs.

Prostate cancer blog: New Test May Improve Prostate Cancer Detection

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