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Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

New Urine Test for Prostate Cancer Hailed as Best Ever and Easily Available by Mail

Research shows the two-marker urine test is more effective than PSA test alone, or PSA testing that’s incorporated into a commonly used online tool - the Prostate Cancer Risk Calculator

Sept. 25, 2013 - A new urine test for prostate cancer that measures minute fragments of RNA is now commercially available to men nationwide through the University of Michigan Mlabs, according to a news release issued by the Prostate Cancer Foundation. The new test - Mi-Prostate Score (MiPS) - improves the utility of the PSA blood test, increases physicians’ ability to pick out high-risk prostate tumors from low-risk tumors in patients, and may help tens of thousands of men avoid unnecessary biopsies.

The MiPS test incorporates blood PSA levels and two molecular RNA markers specific for prostate cancer in one final score that provides men and their doctors with a personalized prostate-cancer risk assessment.

 

Related Archive Stories

 
 

New Early Detection Urine Test for Prostate Cancer Introduced at U. Michigan

Test incorporates three specific markers that could indicate cancer and studies have shown that the combination is far more accurate than PSA alone

Sept. 26, 2013


Most Older Men Say They Want Prostate Cancer Test Despite Risks, Task Force Objections

Although experts say middle-aged men should not have routine PSA tests, majority of older men disagree, especially those of higher income, black or had recent test - July 11, 2013

Evidence Grows that Observation is Safe, Cost Effective for Low-Risk Prostate Cancer Patients

Study focused on men age 65 to 75 when diagnosed; 70% of prostate cancer is low-risk, but 60% of these get treatment - June 18, 2013

More news about prostate cancer below news story.


 
 

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Drawbacks of stand-alone PSA testing for prostate cancer

   • The prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a protein made by the prostate. For decades the PSA test has been used as a marker for the presence of prostate cancer in men - high or rising levels of PSA in blood may indicate the presence of a prostate tumor.

However, the PSA test is a non-specific test for prostate cancer. That is, non-cancerous conditions such as an enlarged or inflamed prostate can cause elevations in PSA levels. And even when PSA levels rise above what has routinely been considered a trigger level (4.1 ng/ml in the blood) indicating the need for a needle biopsy to check prostate tissue for signs of cancer, less than half of those biopsies find cancerous cells.

In addition, up to 44 percent of PSA-triggered biopsies find cancer cells that are non-lethal, indolent prostate cancer cells. Indolent prostate cancer is highly unlikely to shorten the lifespan of a man. However, treatment with surgery or radiation can carry significant risk of side effects such as incontinence or sexual dysfunction.

Improving upon the PSA test

   • The limited reliability of the PSA test, and its lack of specificity for prostate cancer, has led to sharp disagreement over the use of the PSA test as a routine health screening measure for men of a certain age. What everyone does agree upon is the need for better markers of prostate cancer.

To date there are no perfect biomarkers that identify only high-risk prostate cancer. But each year progress is made toward such a goal. Today, the University of Michigan’s Department of Pathology MLabs will begin offering the MiPS urine test that is ultra specific for prostate cancer.

The MiPS test scans urine samples for two molecular markers that are distinct to prostate cancer. One marker is a snippet of RNA made from a gene (PCA3) that is overactive in 95 percent of all prostate cancers. The second marker is RNA that is made only when two genes (TMPRSS2 and ERG) abnormally fuse. The presence of this fusion RNA in a man’s urine is ultra specific for prostate cancer.

An ultra-specific test for prostate cancer

   • Dr. Scott Tomlins, MD, PhD, is an assistant professor of pathology and urology at the University of Michigan and a Safeway-Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator. Tomlins co-discovered what is now commonly known as the TMPRSS2:ERG fusion. “The evidence shows that if TMPRSS2:ERG RNA is detectable at high levels in urine, a man likely has prostate cancer, whether or not his biopsy is positive for cancer,” said Tomlins. (Because biopsies typically sample less than 1 percent of the prostate gland, cancers can be missed, even high-grade cancers.)

A commercial urine test (PROGENSA PCA3) for PCA3, developed and marketed by the California-based biotech company Gen-Probe, gained FDA approval in 2012 for use in men who are considering repeat biopsy after an initially negative result. While a welcome development, research shows that the new urine test offered by MLabs that measures both PCA3 and TMPRSS2:ERG should improve a doctor’s ability to stratify men suspected of having prostate cancer.

In a study published in Science Translational Medicine, Tomlins and colleagues found the highest rates of cancer in men with the highest levels of TMPRSS2:ERG and PCA3 in their urine.

The men in the study were stratified into three groups based upon the levels of TMPRSS2:ERG and PCA3 in their urine: low, intermediate and high levels, or scores. Cancer was diagnosed in each of the groups respectively: 21%, 43%, and 69%.

High-grade prostate cancer, defined in the study as a Gleason score greater than 6, also occurred at different frequencies in the three groups with 7%, 20%, and 40% diagnosed in each group respectively.

Other research has shown that the two-marker urine test is more effective than the PSA test alone, or PSA testing that’s incorporated into a commonly used online tool (the Prostate Cancer Risk Calculator), at predicting the presence of prostate cancer.

How to be tested at your doctor’s office

For additional research results of the MiPS test, how results will be presented to men and their doctors, and other background information, click here.

The test is available to anyone but requires a request from a doctor. For further information, call the University of Michigan’s MLabs at 800-862-7284 or visit www.mlabs.umich.edu.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation notes in its news release that it is not endorsing the use of this test, since PCF does not endorse commercial companies or products.

The Foundation says it does “heartily applaud” each research step made toward precision medicine and better biomarkers for prostate cancer that improves the standard of care for patients and leads to less suffering and death from this disease that will affect one in six men in the US.

The Safeway Foundation provided unrestricted funding to the Prostate Cancer Foundation for biomarker research that funded this work. The Safeway Foundation also provided PCF-Young Investigator funding to Dr. Tomlins.

From more information on how to send a specimen, call MLabs at 800-862-7284 or visit www.mlabs.umich.edu.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation is the world’s largest philanthropic source of support for accelerating the most promising research for better treatments and cures for prostate cancer. To learn more about PCF go to www.pcf.org.


More SeniorJournal.com news on Prostate Cancer

Latest Prostatectomy Radiation Treatment – IMRT – Not More Effective for Senior Citizens

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May 21, 2013

New Prostate Cancer Test Better at Determining Candidates for Surveillance

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May 8, 2013

New Guidelines Urge Older Men Discuss Benefits, Harms of Prostate Cancer Screening with Doctor

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May 3, 2013

Men Who Take Statins Less Likely to Die from Prostate Cancer

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May 2, 2013

Almost Half of Deaths from Prostate Cancer Can Be Predicted by PSA Before Men Reach Age 50

Earlier 2010 study in BMJ showed PSA level at age 60 is strongly predictive of the risk of death from prostate cancer by age 85

April 17, 2013

Men with Lynch Syndrome Genetic Condition at Greater Risk of Prostate, Other Cancers

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April 1, 2013

Prostate Screening Tests In Older Men Decline, But Many Still Get Them, Study Finds

Government panel recommended in August 2008 that men over age 75 should not be routinely screened for prostate cancer

By Julie Appleby, CAPSULES: Short Takes On News & Events - March 4, 2013

Large Study Shows Elderly and African-American Men at Increased Risk of Having Aggressive Prostate Cancer

This cancer only found by PSA testing but not known if early detection and treatment can be beneficial

Feb. 13, 2013

Prostate Cancer Survivors Differ in Side Effects by Treatment, But It Evens Out After 15 Years: All See Sexual, Urinary Decline

All aggressive therapies for prostate cancer have significant side effects and perhaps these data make an argument for active surveillance (avoiding aggressive treatment and closely following the cancer) in certain cases

Jan. 30, 2013

 

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