New research suggests that free circulating DNA (fcDNA) blood levels might indicate the presence of prostate cancer and may improve the specificity of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. The research was presented at the 105th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA). Rakesh Singal, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, presented this data at a special press conference on Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 9:30 a.m. PDT.

The major problem associated with PSA screening for prostate cancer is that the test is not specific. Only one-third of men with elevated PSA are diagnosed with prostate cancer after a biopsy indicating that a large proportion of patients are subjected to unnecessary prostate biopsy. The study conducted at the University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Center examined the usefulness of fcDNA analysis in a typical prostate cancer screening setting. High fcDNA levels were significantly associated with prostate cancer risk and improved the specificity of PSA screening. Therefore, fcDNA may be a reliable predictor of prostate cancer and may reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies.

"Free circulating DNA might aid in screening for prostate cancer We need to show that these numbers are reliable and that they truly increase the specificity of PSA so that when used in combination with PSA, they improve our ability to select patients for prostate biopsy," said Anthony Y. Smith, MD, an AUA spokesman. "The next wave of diagnostic tests really needs to be more specific so that patients are spared the discomfort of unnecessary biopsies. Elimination of unnecessary prostate biopsies will also reduce healthcare costs. The ideal test or tests may also give us a handle on rates at which patients may progress in order to better select patients who really need treatment versus those who can be safely observed."

American Urological Association

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