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 Genetic differences between strains of Epstein-Barr virus can alter its activity
18.07.2019 | University of Sussex

nachricht Machine learning platform guides pancreatic cyst management in patients
18.07.2019 | American Association for the Advancement of Science

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: Better thermal conductivity by adjusting the arrangement of atoms

Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone. The scientists will publish the results shortly in the journal Nano Letters.

In the electronics and computer industry, components are becoming ever smaller and more powerful. However, there are problems with the heat generation. It is...

Im Focus: First-ever visualizations of electrical gating effects on electronic structure

Scientists have visualised the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely-tuned high performance electronic devices.

Physicists from the University of Warwick and the University of Washington have developed a technique to measure the energy and momentum of electrons in...

Im Focus: Megakaryocytes act as „bouncers“ restraining cell migration in the bone marrow

Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.

Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...

Im Focus: Artificial neural network resolves puzzles from condensed matter physics: Which is the perfect quantum theory?

For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.

Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...

Im Focus: Extremely hard yet metallically conductive: Bayreuth researchers develop novel material with high-tech prospects

An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".

The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on UV LED Technologies & Applications – ICULTA 2020 | Call for Abstracts

24.06.2019 | Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Heat flow through single molecules detected

19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Heat transport through single molecules

19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Welcome Committee for Comets

19.07.2019 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>