Liquid Biopsy Could Help Identify Aggressive Prostate Cancers, Study Says

Liquid Biopsy Could Help Identify Aggressive Prostate Cancers, Study Says
A non-invasive test that examines microRNAs — small RNA molecules — in urine may be used to identify aggressive prostate cancers with great accuracy, potentially avoiding unnecessary treatments for slow-growing cancers, a study suggests. The study, "Temporal stability and prognostic biomarker potential of the prostate cancer urine transcriptome," was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute Prostate cancer is usually easy to diagnose, but it can be difficult to distinguish between aggressive tumors that pose a serious threat to health and slow-growing tumors that probably won't ever cause problems, even if left untreated. Unnecessary treatments can be a burden to the individual and the healthcare system, but not getting sufficient treatment can be deadly — and about a quarter of people diagnosed with prostate cancer will fall into one of those two categories. The current gold standard for diagnosing and assessing risk in prostate cancer is a biopsy — inserting a needle into the prostate and taking cells for examination. This is invasive, and carries risks such as infections. Blood tests are less invasive, but are also less accurate. Yet the prostate naturally sheds substances into the urine — might a urine test be able to stratify prostate cancer risk, both accurately and non-invasively? "We developed a three-stage experimental strategy that would maximize statistical and data science considerations to give us the best chance of finding a biomarker to predict prostate cancer aggressiveness," Paul Boutros, PhD, a co-author of the study and p
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