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Tuesday 25th October 2016

Prostate cancer genetic test

21st September 2007

A new genetic test to detect signs of prostate cancer in urine has been launched in the UK.

Experts say that the new test could make the diagnosis of the disease more accurate and reduce unnecessary biopsies in some men.

The new genetic test costs £200 and at this stage is unlikely to be used routinely in the NHS and may be reserved for high-risk patients.

However, the current test which costs £10 - the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test which looks for raised levels of a protein in the blood that leaks out of the prostate gland - is still regarded as unreliable.

A high PSA score indicates cancer may be present but to know more doctors have to take tissue samples from the prostate using a sharp needle.

The new Progensa test, developed by Gen-Probe, measures the activity of a gene closely linked to prostate cancer - PCA3.

In the UK about 35,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the UK and 10,000 die from the disease.

Professor Roger Kirby, from the London Prostate Cancer Treatment Centre, said the biggest worry in prostate cancer diagnosis is the uncertainty that surrounds a raised PSA level and any test which could reduce unnecessary biopsies was good news.

Dr Chris Hiley, head of policy and research management at The Prostate Cancer Charity, said for some men the test would help doctors decide whether or not to proceed with more biopsies, which can be painful and can have unwanted side effects.


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