Half of urologists are unaware of newer, more sensitive biomarker tests for detecting prostate cancer, according to a survey of 300 of the specialists worldwide.
The new tests reduce the need for invasive prostate biopsies. They also allow doctors to identify early-on those patients whose cancer is likely to turn aggressive.
Dr. Nicolaas Lumen, head of the Urology Clinic at University Hospital Gent in Belgium, presented the findings at the Global Congress on Prostate Cancer in Lisbon, Portugal, June 28-30. He noted that while responses to the survey came from around the world, most of the participants were European urologists.
His keynote presentation, “Biomarkers in 2017,” revealed that nearly 50 percent of urologists do not recommend a diagnostic biomarker test to their patients. The reason for this low percentage, according to the survey, was that many don’t know about the tests.
Ninety percent of the 300 urologists said they would use the tests if the diagnostic tools allowed them to rule out cancer with 98 percent certainty, however.
“The results of this survey highlighted that urologists are more familiar with older biomarker tests like PCA3 that do not have such a high NPV [negative predictive value] for significant prostate cancer,” Lumen said in a press release.
“The new generation biomarker tests are more accurate to identify clinically significant prostate cancer and are valuable tools for further risk assessment to determine whether or not to proceed with biopsy,” he added.
“Dr. Lumen’s survey clearly identifies a significant untapped market for our SelectMDx for Prostate Cancer test,” said Dr. Jan Groen, CEO of MDxHealth.
“SelectMDx is an affordable non-invasive liquid biomarker test with a 98% NPV for Gleason score 7 or greater prostate cancer and is available for use in Europe and the U.S.,” Groen added.
The Gleason score is a measure that physicians use to determine how much a tumor differs from normal tissue. A score of 7 indicates a cancer that differs moderately from healthy tissue. Scores between 8 and 10 indicate that the cancer is more likely to become aggressive and spread to other parts of the body.
MDxHealth said its test can reduce by about half the number of unnecessary diagnostic procedures a man who may have prostate cancer is subjected to, such as biopsies and magnetic resonance imaging of the prostate. Not only does this minimize the risks of invasive tissue sampling, but it also helps to reduce healthcare costs, the company said.