Active monitoring is a way to monitor low-risk localized prostate cancer using blood tests and scans every few months (file image)

Blood test that cleared samples for small fragments released by tumors & # 39; is 90% accurate in detecting aggressive prostate cancer & # 39;

  • New test controls for circulating tumor cells (CTC) that have entered the blood
  • London researchers found the new cancer method with an accuracy of 90%
  • It also predicted the aggressiveness of cancer, eliminating the need for painful biopsies

Thousands of men with prostate cancer can save painful treatments with a new blood test, scientists say.


A test of the experimental test showed that it saw killer disease with more than 90 percent accuracy.

Researchers discovered that it was also able to predict the aggressiveness of the cancer, eliminating the need for painful biopsies in less severe cases.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with 47,000 men diagnosed each year.

It usually develops slowly and most cancers do not require treatment in a man's life.

But doctors are currently struggling to distinguish between aggressive and less severe tumors, making it difficult to decide on treatment.

Thousands of men with prostate cancer can save painful treatments thanks to a new blood test that detects the aggressiveness of the disease with an accuracy of 90 percent (file image)

Thousands of men with prostate cancer can save painful treatments thanks to a new blood test that detects the aggressiveness of the disease with an accuracy of 90 percent (file image)

Aggressive forms of the disease require rapid treatment, but low-risk patients often do not need treatment at all.

Experts hope the test can help men with unnecessary biopsies and repeated invasive follow-ups for patients with a & # 39; low risk & # 39; to prevent.

The new test would detect early cancer cells or circulating tumor cells (CTC) that left the original tumor in the prostate and entered the bloodstream.


Current methods measure the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood.

PSA is a protein that is produced by normal cells in the prostate and also by prostate cancer cells.

It is normal to have a small amount of PSA in the blood and the amount increases slightly as men get older and their prostates grow.


How many people does it kill?

Prostate cancer became a greater killer than breast cancer for the first time, official statistics revealed last year.


More than 11,800 men a year – or one every 45 minutes – are now killed by the disease in Britain, compared to around 11,400 women who die of breast cancer.

How fast is it developing?

Prostate cancer usually develops slowly, so there can be no signs that someone has it for years, according to the NHS.

If the cancer is at an early stage and causes no symptoms, a policy of & # 39; can wait alert & # 39; or & # 39; active surveillance & # 39; are accepted.

Some patients can be cured if the disease is treated at an early stage.


But if it is diagnosed at a later stage, when it has spread, it becomes terminal and the treatment revolves around relieving symptoms.

Testing and treatment

Tests for prostate cancer are haphazard, with accurate tools that are just starting to show up.

There is no national prostate screening program because the tests have been too inaccurate for years.

Doctors have difficulty distinguishing between aggressive and less severe tumors, making it difficult to choose a treatment.


Men over 50 are eligible for a "PSA" blood test that gives doctors a rough idea of ​​whether a patient is at risk.

But it is unreliable. Patients who receive a positive result usually receive a biopsy that is also not watertight.

Scientists are not sure what causes prostate cancer, but age, obesity, and lack of exercise are known risks.

Anyone with concerns can contact the Prostate Cancer UK specialist nurses on 0800 074 8383 or come to visit

An elevated PSA level may suggest that there is a problem with the prostate, but this does not necessarily mean cancer.

As a result, approximately 75 percent of all PSA positive results end with painful biopsies that do not find cancer and risk bleeding and infection.

Scientists say that by measuring intact living cancer cells in the blood of the patient, instead of PSA, the new test provides a more accurate test.

The research team at Queen Mary University in London tested the new blood test in combination with the PSA test on 253 patients at St Bartholomew & # 39; s Hospital in London.

They found that the presence of CTC & # 39; s in pre-biopsy blood samples were indicative of the presence of aggressive prostate cancer.

When the CTC tests were used in combination with the current PSA test, it was able to predict the presence of aggressive prostate cancer in subsequent biopsies with an accuracy of more than 90 percent.


Principal investigator Professor Yong-Jie Lu said that the current methods often lead to overdiagnosis and over-treatment in many men.

Professor Lu, from Queen Mary University in London, added: & # 39; This causes considerable damage to patients and wastage of valuable health resources.

"There is a clear need for a better selection of patients to undergo the biopsy procedure.

& # 39; Testing for circulating tumor cells is efficient, non-invasive and potentially accurate, and we have now demonstrated the potential to improve the current standard of care.

& # 39; By combining the new CTC analysis with the current PSA test, we were able to detect prostate cancer with the highest accuracy ever observed in a biomarker test, allowing many patients to save unnecessary biopsies.


& # 39; This can lead to a paradigm shift in the way we diagnose prostate cancer. & # 39;

The test must be tested in other hospitals before it is available privately or through the NHS, which can take three to five years.

The findings are published in The Journal of Urology.

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