Prostate Cancer Hopes Raised After Home Sputum Tests

  • Author, Sean Seddon
  • Role, BBC News

Home saliva tests are more effective at identifying men who are at higher risk of prostate cancer than the standard blood test, new research suggests.

The home test could identify genetic factors that make men more likely to develop the disease which claims around 12,000 lives a year in the UK.

The study was carried out by the Institute of Cancer Research in London and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

They hoped these results could “turn the tide on prostate cancer.”

The research has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The UK does not have a national prostate cancer screening program because blood tests are not considered accurate enough and may detect non-fatal forms of the disease rather than aggressive forms.

Researchers believe this simple, inexpensive testing method could help detect the disease earlier and save lives.

“It’s simple from a patient point of view… get a tube, put your saliva sample in it and post it off,” said Professor Caroline Moore, consultant urologist.

Specializing in the detection and minimally invasive treatment of prostate cancer, she explained to Today on BBC Radio 4 what happens to the samples.

“DNA is extracted from it (saliva) and analyzed to look for a combination of genetic variations linked to prostate cancer.”

The latest study involved more than 6,000 European men aged 55 to 69, an age group where the risk of developing prostate cancer is increased.

The researchers then used blood and saliva tests on a smaller group of men in whom genetic variations in their DNA indicated a higher risk of developing the disease.

Preliminary research results show that the saliva test produced fewer false positives and detected a higher proportion of aggressive cancers.

Currently, men who want to be tested for prostate cancer must speak to their GP and have a blood test, which measures the level of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in their blood.

“(But) we know that the PSA test does not detect all cancers,” Professor Moore said, adding that the men in the study took the test but had normal PSA levels.

After an MRI and biopsy, 40% of men with high saliva test scores were diagnosed with prostate cancer.

According to researchers, according to standard blood tests, only 25% of men with high PSA levels will actually have prostate cancer.

The Institute of Cancer Research’s chief executive, Professor Kristian Helin, said the standard blood test “can lead to men undergoing unnecessary treatment and, more worryingly, it is missing men with cancer “.

Naser Turabi, director of evidence and implementation at Cancer Research UK, described the study as “encouraging” and said “further research is now needed to confirm whether this tool can save lives”.

Professor Moore said the next step would be a large screening study to find the best test or combination of tests, looking at saliva tests, PSA tests and MRI scans, which are a modern alternative to the rectal exam .

Preliminary results were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago.

News Source :
Gn Health

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