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Promise and Progress - No More Repeat Prostate Biopsies

Promise & Progress - A Spectrum of Achievements

No More Repeat Prostate Biopsies

Date: January 15, 2015

Journal of Urology

A multicenter team of researchers reported that a commercial test for the presence of genetic biomarkers of prostate cancer may be accurate enough to exclude the need for repeat biopsies in most men.

The test is based on the GSTP1 gene, discovered by Kimmel Cancer Center Director William Nelson and linked specifically to prostate cancer.  GSTP-1 is not found in any normal cell.   The commercialized urine test screens for the biomarker and is most useful for men who are suspected to have prostate cancer because of an abnormal exam or rising PSA (prostate specific antigen) levels, despite a negative biopsy.  Prostate biopsies miss about 20 percent of cancers, and the test helps address this uncertainty. If results are negative, it confirms the original biopsy results and could be used instead of repeated biopsies to rule out the presence of cancer.

Results of this most recent research, called the Detection of Cancer Using Methylated Events in Negative Tissue (DOCUMENT) study, suggest that an initial biopsy complemented with the GSTP1 biomarker test accurately rules out the existence of cancer up to 88 percent of the time. 

“Our research finds that by looking for the presence or absence of cancer in a different way, we may be able to offer many men peace of mind without putting them through the pain, bleeding, and risk of infection that can come with repeat biopsy,” says Jonathan Epstein, M.D., director of the Division of Surgical Pathology, and professor of pathology, urology, and oncology.  “The test isn’t a 100 percent assurance, but it is a major step forward,” says Epstein, who is also the Rose-Lee and Keith Reinhard Professor of Urologic Pathology

MDxHealth developed the commercial test and funded the study.

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