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New prostate cancer screening test shows promise

A new screening test may prove to be a promising tool for prostate cancer diagnosis, according to a recent study.

The new test, the PSA/SIA (solvent interaction analysis) assay, may be more sensitive in detecting prostate cancer than traditional screening methods.

"This has the potential to be a major advance in the development of more accurate tests for prostate cancer diagnosis," said lead author Mark Stovsky, MD, of University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland. "This test provides a new way to look at prostate cancer diagnosis utilizing a novel biological assay which differentiates PSA molecular structures arising from cancer versus non-cancerous glands."

Working with co-authors from the biotech company AnalizaDx, Inc., in Cleveland, Dr. Stovsky and colleagues studied a urine-based test that works differently than most prostate screening methods by using an assay to separate PSA protein structures as being linked to either a "cancer" or "non-cancer" pathologic diagnosis based on ultrasound-guided biopsy. Instead of attempting to find a single genetic biomarker, the PSA/SIA assay is based on the assumption that there may be myriad different ultra-structural changes in the PSA protein that define the cancer phenotype.

The authors theorize that the extremely high sensitivity of the test is the result of the ability of the PSA/SIA biologic filter to categorize the myriad ultra-structural changes in the PSA protein as being made by either cancer or non-cancer glands. The PSA/SIA assay was also found to have relatively high specificity results compared with the traditional serum PSA test.

The initial study, which followed 222 men, found that the new screening method had 100% sensitivity and 80.3% specificity.

Study results were published online in Urology (July 21, 2011).

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