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Tracking PSA Test Results Over Time Gives Clues to Cancer

Method may help doctors spot aggressive prostate tumors, researchers say

TUESDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors could do a better job of assessing the severity of prostate cancer by analyzing changes in prostate-specific antigen(PSA) blood tests over time, a new study suggests.

Researchers from Innsbruck, Austria, report that the rate of increase in PSA, based on a factor known as velocity, can strongly predict whether a man has a high-risk form of cancer.

The researchers came to their conclusions after studying the PSA results in 426 patients who underwent prostatectomy, the removal of part or all of the prostate, and had undergone four years of PSA tests.

"Monitoring PSA velocity over time gives us valuable information that can help us better assess which tumors are slow-growing and which ones may kill," said Dr. William J. Catalona, who is moderating a briefing on the findings slated for Tuesday at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association in San Francisco.

"Further analysis of these changes improves the specificity of the PSA test and can help us better decide when biopsy and active treatment might be necessary. It helps make PSA a smarter test."

More information

For more on prostate cancer, see the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: American Urological Association, press release, June 1, 2010

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