New marker in urine may improve on PSA testing, reduce unnecessary biopsies
Men middle-aged and older routinely get blood tests for prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, to screen for prostate cancer. However, PSA testing has shortcomings: many men with elevated PSAs don’t have prostate cancer and undergo unnecessary biopsies, which can cause infertility, incontinence, and impotence. Other men do have prostate cancer, but have normal PSAs, allowing the cancer to spread undetected. A preliminary study from Children’s Hospital Boston, led by Dr. Bruce Zetter, shows that a simple urine test may improve upon PSA screening. Results appear in the Jan. 21 online edition of the journal Prostate.
Zetter, a researcher in the Vascular Biology Program at Children’s, is interested in the role of cell motility -- cells’ ability to move and travel -- in helping cancers to metastasize. He became especially interested in thymosin ß15, a protein that stimulates cell migration and promotes metastasis in prostate cancer. Unlike PSA, it is produced almost exclusively by cancer cells, and is detectable in urine.
Bess Andrews | EurekAlert!
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