For a long time, the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test has been the mainstay in prostate cancer testing. It has been thought of as an extremely effective way of finding out when mutations of the genes have occurred. However, it is not always accurate, so digital exams and other tests usually have to be performed in conjunction with the PSA test.
Now, there is a new test in development that research is suggesting may be even better than the PSA. This new method uses the patient’s immune system’s response to a viral infection in order to determine if prostate cancer is present.
It’s not all that confusing. The scientists put some prostate cancer DNA into virus cells and monitored the body’s response. By finding out what proteins were created by the immune system, the doctors were then able to determine if prostate cancer was present in the body.
The researchers found that the test was about 13% more accurate than the PSA test. It had a 93% rate of success when it came to identifying cancer in the bodies of men already known to be suffering from the disease.
However, this study was small, using only 257 patients. Another, larger-scale trial warned that the PSA test is still the best option when it comes to diagnosing prostate cancer. The study included over 2,300 men and showed that the PSA test was still the best option, especially when predicting a possible recurrence of the disease after surgery.
They found that how high a PSA level was prior to surgery had a direct impact on the likelihood that the cancer would not be cured by the impending prostate resection or removal. The authors warn that people should not jump on the bandwagon of this new test too soon because the PSA is still very accurate.
Hopefully, the new test will at least prove to increase the accuracy of currently available tests such as the PSA in order to help patients avoid unnecessary biopsies and to speed along cancer treatment