Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men, and is the second leading cause of cancer death of men in the U.S.
Now, a new study is showing that a screening tool, called the IsoPSA test, can more accurately predict a man’s overall risk for developing high-grade prostate cancer.
The research team, led by Cleveland Clinic’s Eric Klein, M.D., was looking for a way to reduce the number of worrisome false-positives that can result from the traditional PSA blood test.
“We can say with confidence now that IsoPSA is substantially more accurate than PSA in detecting the presence of high-grade cancer,” he said. “If IsoPSA is widely adopted, and used in the right way, it could reduce the number of men who undergo biopsy unnecessarily by almost fifty percent.”
The study was a validation of previous research that showed how the new IsoPSA blood test could distinguish between a person’s risk for developing either a high-grade, or a low-grade prostate cancer.
The standard PSA test that is currently used is not cancer-specific, and can lead to many false-positives and unnecessary biopsy procedures.
Dr. Klein said reducing the amount of unnecessary biopsies would cut down on the number of men who are over-treated for non-lethal cancers.
The study also found that by having an ‘IsoPSA test, followed by a biopsy that was directed by a magnetic resonance scan, or MRI, the combined accuracy for predicting the presence of a high-grade prostate cancer was about 86 percent.
Dr. Klein said there are many proteins in the bloodstream of men who have prostate cancer, and the IsoPSA test is better able to tell how these proteins are related to prostate cancer specifically.
“It adds specificity for cancer,” he said. “Right now, if you have a worrisome PSA – it could be BPH, or it could be cancer, you don’t know, it’s almost a coin flip. IsoPSA gives you a better sense of whether or not a biopsy is justified.”
Dr. Klein said there isn’t enough data to know yet whether the IsoPSA test would ever replace the traditional PSA test as an initial screening.
The IsoPSA test is not yet commercially available, but the test kit is in the process for FDA approval.
Complete results of the study are available in The Journal of Urology .