The PSA test has a new rival. Scientists affiliated with the University of Michigan Health System are rolling out a new urine test for prostate cancer that they say provides a more accurate way to identify high-risk tumors than the PSA alone.
The new test — the so-called Mi-Prostate Score (MiPS), developed by MLabs — improves the utility of the PSA blood test, increasing doctors' ability to differentiate between low-risk prostate cancer and more aggressive tumors. That, in turn, may help tens of thousands of men avoid unnecessary biopsies each year, makers of the test say.
Researchers noted PSA (prostate specific antigen) is a protein made by the prostate and tests for its presence have been used for decades as a marker for prostate cancer in men. But the PSA test is not foolproof and non-cancerous conditions such as an enlarged or inflamed prostate can cause elevations in PSA levels.
In about half of cases where PSA-triggered biopsies are performed, the tumors are non-lethal, slow-growing cells that aren't likely to cause life-threatening conditions. But the PSA is widely used, in part because tmore accurate tests are unavailable.
But makers of the new MLabs urine test note that it is ultra specific for prostate cancer, sampling for two molecular markers that are present when tumors exist.
"The evidence shows that if [those markers are] detectable at high levels in urine, a man likely has prostate cancer, whether or not his biopsy is positive for cancer," said Scott Tomlins, M.D., an assistant professor of pathology and urology at the University of Michigan.
In a study published in Science Translational Medicine, Dr. Tomlins and colleagues found the highest rates of cancer in men with the highest levels of the markers in their urine.
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