But this latest one uses four PUR signatures to provide a simultaneous assessment of non-cancerous tissue and risk groups – low, intermediate and high – to show how aggressive the cancer is. "This research shows our urine test could be used to not only diagnose prostate cancer without the need for an invasive needle biopsy but to identify a patient's level of risk," said Dr Jeremy Clark, also of Norwich Medical School. "This means we could predict whether or not prostate cancer patients already on active surveillance would require treatment. "The really exciting thing is the test predicted disease progression up to five years before it was detected by standard clinical methods. "Furthermore, the test was able to identify men that were up to eight times less likely to need treatment within five years of diagnosis. "If this test was to be used in the clinic, large numbers of men could avoid an unnecessary initial biopsy and the repeated, invasive follow-up of men with low-risk disease could be drastically reduced.
Others include a physical examination known as a digital rectal examination (DRE), an MRI scan or a biopsy. "Prostate cancer is more commonly a disease men die with rather than from," said Lead author Shea Connell, a PhD student at the University of East Anglia's Norwich Medical School. "Unfortunately, we currently lack the ability to tell which men diagnosed with prostate cancer will need radical treatment and which men will not. "Current practice assesses a patient's disease using a PSA blood test, prostate biopsy and MRI.
But up to 75% of men with a raised PSA level are negative for prostate cancer on biopsy. "Meanwhile 15% of patients who do not have a raised PSA are found to have prostate cancer – with a further 15% of these cancers being aggressive. "A policy of 'active surveillance' has been developed as a way to combat this uncertainty, but it requires invasive follow-ups and constant reminders that a patient has a cancer with an uncertain natural history. "This results in up to 50% of men on active surveillance self-electing for treatment – whether they need it or not. "It's clear there is a considerable need for additional, more accurate, tests.
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