Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genetics a factor in PSA levels

16.07.2003


Genetics causes some men to test higher on the blood test for prostate cancer – even when they don’t have the disease – report researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and colleagues in the July 16 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The discovery could lead to more accurate testing and fewer unnecessary biopsies, said Scott D. Cramer, Ph.D., lead researcher, from Wake Forest.

"Up to 20 percent of men may have genetic variants that cause levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) that are about 30 percent higher than other men, which could result in needless biopsies," said Cramer. The research was in collaboration with St. Louis University and Washington University School of Medicine.



The PSA blood test, which measures a protein made by prostatic cells, is the most widely used marker to screen for prostate cancer. Cramer, an assistant professor of cancer biology, said the new findings potentially could lead to changes in how PSA results are interpreted and which men are referred for biopsies.

"Further research will be needed to determine how this genetic marker can contribute to making PSA a more accurate screening tool," said Cramer. "Because of the huge importance of accurately diagnosing prostate cancer, we need to find the best way to use PSA to determine who has prostate cancer and who doesn’t."

The researchers analyzed blood samples from 405 white males, with a mean age of 63.7 years, who were part of a study looking at asbestos exposure. The researchers excluded men with prostate cancer. Using DNA sequencing, the researchers identified three variations in part of the gene that controls PSA levels. They found that the variations together contributed to a 30 percent increase in PSA levels. Their analysis suggests that if a man has one variation, he has all three. Approximately 20 percent of the study subjects had the variants.

Testing for the variants is quick and inexpensive, said Cramer, and could one day become part of the PSA screening process.

"If a man has the genetic variants, for example, perhaps he would have a higher PSA cutoff before a biopsy is recommended," said Cramer.

Cramer said additional research should focus on black men, who are known to have higher PSA levels and a greater risk for developing prostate cancer than white men, to see if they have the same variants as the study group.

In addition to race, other factors known to influence PSA levels include age and the presence of non-cancerous prostate disease. The research by Cramer and colleagues is the first to identify specific genetic variants that are responsible for genetic differences in PSA levels. "We’ve known that age, race and disease can influence PSA levels," said Cramer. "Now, we can add genetics to the list."

Currently, many physicians recommend biopsies when PSA levels are greater than 4 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ ml). However, there is considerable controversy about cutoffs, said Cramer.

In the study, which excluded men with prostate cancer, PSA levels ranged from .2 to 20 ng/ml. The group of men with the genetic variants that raised PSA had mean levels of 2.0 ng/ml. The other men had mean levels of 1.5 ng/mg. Cramer is conducting additional research to learn if the genetic variants may contribute to prostate cancer development.

"PSA has a biological role in the prostate – to digest proteins," said Cramer. "It has been shown that PSA can process proteins that are important for prostate growth. One hypothesis is that the higher PSA levels caused by the genetic variants may contribute to prostate cancer development, which would make testing for the variant even more important in the screening process."

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in American men, other than skin cancer, and is the second-leading cause of cancer death in men, exceeded only by lung cancer.

Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wfubmc.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Diabetes: A next-generation therapy soon available?
17.10.2019 | Université de Genève

nachricht CNIO researchers obtain the first mice born with hyper-long telomeres
17.10.2019 | Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas (CNIO)

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Solving the mystery of quantum light in thin layers

A very special kind of light is emitted by tungsten diselenide layers. The reason for this has been unclear. Now an explanation has been found at TU Wien (Vienna)

It is an exotic phenomenon that nobody was able to explain for years: when energy is supplied to a thin layer of the material tungsten diselenide, it begins to...

Im Focus: An ultrafast glimpse of the photochemistry of the atmosphere

Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have explored the initial consequences of the interaction of light with molecules on the surface of nanoscopic aerosols.

The nanocosmos is constantly in motion. All natural processes are ultimately determined by the interplay between radiation and matter. Light strikes particles...

Im Focus: Shaping nanoparticles for improved quantum information technology

Particles that are mere nanometers in size are at the forefront of scientific research today. They come in many different shapes: rods, spheres, cubes, vesicles, S-shaped worms and even donut-like rings. What makes them worthy of scientific study is that, being so tiny, they exhibit quantum mechanical properties not possible with larger objects.

Researchers at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE's Argonne National...

Im Focus: Novel Material for Shipbuilding

A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.

The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...

Im Focus: Controlling superconducting regions within an exotic metal

Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies. Materials only become superconductors - meaning that electrons can travel in them with no resistance - at very low temperatures. These days, this unique zero resistance superconductivity is commonly found in a number of technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Future technologies, however, will harness the total synchrony of electronic behavior in superconductors - a property called the phase. There is currently a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Symposium on Functional Materials for Electrolysis, Fuel Cells and Metal-Air Batteries

02.10.2019 | Event News

NEXUS 2020: Relationships Between Architecture and Mathematics

02.10.2019 | Event News

Optical Technologies: International Symposium „Future Optics“ in Hannover

19.09.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Analysis of Galileo's Jupiter entry probe reveals gaps in heat shield modeling

17.10.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Creating miracles with polymeric fibers

17.10.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Synthetic cells make long-distance calls

17.10.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>