IRVINE, Calif., April 2 (UPI) -- In patients suspected of having prostate cancer, analyzing non-tumor tissue may be an effective option, California researchers say.
Dr. Dan Mercola, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of California at Irvine, says there are more than 1 million U.S. prostate biopsies annually but the tests can miss up to 30 percent of clinically significant prostate cancers and about one-third of patients receive repeat biopsies within a year.
"A biopsy needle does not need to hit a tumor to detect the presence of tumor," Mercola, the lead researcher, says in a statement.
Mercola and colleagues obtained 364 samples from men of all races who had biopsies for possible prostate cancer, or had prostatectomies -- removal of the prostate -- as well as control prostates from donors who died of causes other than prostate cancer.
The study, published in the journal Cancer Research, said the researchers observed changes in the nearby non-tumor tissue and found changes in gene expression in normal tissue could be detected up to a few millimeters from prostate cancer.
"We were surprised that a reaction may occur for most tumors, and that this response in non-tumor tissue may extend for many millimeters from the tumor," Mercola says.