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Research shows that a urine test for a substance, called prostate cancer gene 3 or PCA3, can help find prostate cancer. Because PCA3 is made by the body in larger amounts when a man has prostate cancer, doctors could use the test to decide if a man needs a prostate biopsy. A biopsy is a removal of a small sample of tissue to check for cancer. One of the tests currently used to help find prostate cancer looks at levels of prostate-specific antigen or PSA, another substance that may be made by the body in larger amounts when a man has prostate cancer. If a man has increased PSA levels, he may need a biopsy to check for cancer. If cancer is not found in the tissue sample removed during biopsy but the man's PSA level is still high, he may need to have additional biopsies. When PSA levels are high, often from noncancerous enlargement (increase in size) of the prostate, PCA3 levels appear better able to detect cancer. Researchers hope that testing for PCA3 could be done with PSA to determine if a man with higher levels of PSA needs additional biopsies. However, the PCA3 test is not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is only available in some medical centers in the United States.
What this means for patients
“The addition of this urine test to regular PSA testing significantly improves a doctor's ability to accurately diagnose prostate cancer,” said lead author Jack Groskopf, PhD, Director of Research and Development in Cancer Diagnostics at Gen-Probe Incorporated, the manufacturer of the PCA3 test. “This study confirms that the PCA3 test can help doctors determine whether repeat prostate biopsy is needed among men with an elevated PSA test.” In the future, this test may help men with higher PSA levels avoid repeat biopsies. Talk with your doctor about the screening tests you may need for prostate cancer and what the results may mean for future screening.
What to Ask Your Doctor
- What is my risk of prostate cancer?
- What screening options are available for prostate cancer?
- If PSA screening shows that I have increased levels, what further testing do you recommend?
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