Urine-Based Test Improves Prostate Cancer Detection

Urine-Based Test Improves Prostate Cancer Detection

An innovative test developed by researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center has the potential to improve prostate cancer detection. It is a urine-based assessment that can detect more aggressive types of prostate cancer when compared to traditional tests based on the levels of prostate serum antigen (PSA).

The University of Michigan has been committed to improve prostate cancer diagnosis with a special focus on those subtypes that require immediate treatment. This new test, named Mi-Prostate Score, or MiPS, combines PSA with 2 markers for prostate cancer, T2:ERG and PCA3, which can be detected through urine samples. This test has been available for clinical use since September 2013.

“Around 50 percent of men who undergo a prostate biopsy will not have cancer. We need better ways to manage elevated PSA and determine who really needs to have a biopsy. MiPS gives men and their doctors better information to help make those decisions,” noted Scott A. Tomlins who is the lead study author and assistant professor of at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Researchers studied a total of 1,977 men who underwent prostate biopsy due to high PSA levels. Using urine samples, scientists conducted the MiPS test and compared the outcomes to several different scenarios with combinations of PSA, PCA3, T2:ERG and other PSA-based tests possible to use as risk calculators. How well each individual biomarker could predict the odds of developing cancer was assessed, with each combination of biomarkers considered and evaluated. The test has the capacity to deliver individual risk estimates of prostate cancer development in each individual patient.

The MiPS test has the potential to reduce the number of biopsies necessary by one-third, while delaying the diagnosis of only about 1 percent of high-risk prostate cancers.

“MiPS gives men a more individualized risk assessment for prostate cancer, so that men concerned about their serum PSA levels can have a more informed conversation with their doctor about next steps in their care,” said Tomlins.

PCA3 is FDA-approved for the assessment of prostate cancer risk in males with an existent negative biopsy. The majority of men enrolled in this study were undergoing initial biopsy, which suggests MiPS can be effective earlier in the detection process.

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Isaura Santos graduated with a BS in Cell and Molecular Biology from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and a MA in Communication, Culture and Information Technologies from University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL). Her professional interests include science communication, public awareness of science and communication of science through entertainment.
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