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Genetics may help eliminate some prostate cancer biopsies

April 28, 2013 at 6:41 PM   |   Comments

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CHICAGO, April 28 (UPI) -- Prostate specific antigen screenings using genetic variants may become more accurate and cut down on unnecessary prostate biopsies, U.S. researchers say.

Lead author Dr. Brian Helfand -- an adjunct assistant professor of cell and molecular biology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine -- said personalized PSA testing using genetic variants could account for an 18 percent reduction in the number of men who likely would have undergone unnecessary biopsies.

"By utilizing a person's genetic makeup we could personalize care when he comes in for a PSA screening," Helfand said in a statement. "We might be able to prevent some men from having an unnecessary biopsy and prevent a delay in biopsy for men who may have an aggressive disease."

Genetic adjustment of PSA levels did not change the outcome of the screening for 98 percent of men examined, but genetic correction was important for the 17 men who were reclassified as no longer meeting biopsy criteria and the three whose condition was recommended they get a biopsy, based on their genetic adjustment, Helfand said.

"If our results are validated, genetic adjustments could potentially prevent 15 percent to 20 percent of prostate biopsies," senior author Dr. William J. Catalona said. "Since it has been estimated that more than 1 million biopsies are performed in the United States annually, this could translate into 150,000 to 200,000 potentially unnecessary biopsies every year."

The findings are scheduled to be published in the May issue of The Journal of Urology.

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