The Need for Research
Prostate cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in men. Early detection is key to survival for some men. However, over-treatment is a significant issue that must be addressed in parallel with efforts to save lives. At present there is no national or state screening registry. This severely impacts ability to accurately assess the value of screening in regard to cancer incidence (new cases) and mortality (deaths from prostate cancer).
New tests (biomarkers and imaging strategies) are becoming increasingly available. Exploring these to better understand their value in identifying potentially lethal cancer, while reducing the number of men subject to quality of life impacting treatments that might not benefit them, is crucial to supporting the most beneficial outcome for every man impacted by prostate cancer. The digital rectal exam (DRE) and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test are the gateway tests to initiating the exploration of these new tests.
Exploring New Biomarkers
The National Institute of Health (NIH) Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) Prostate and Urologic Cancers Research Group recently completed validation of %[-2]proPSA to improve PSA-based detection of prostate cancer. This test is approved by the United State Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and can be offered by doctors in response to an elevated PSA when DRE is normal. The group also recently completed validation of PCA3, which is now also FDA approved. PCA3 is a urine-based test that can be offered as a follow-up for a man with a high PSA who has undergone a prostate biopsy that did not find cancer to help determine the need for future prostate biopsies.
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