biopsies in the United States annually, and roughly 80 percent of these men have negative results, according to Getzenberg.
He says that of the entire population of men in the United States who have been tested for PSA, an estimated 25 million have elevated PSA levels and a biopsy of the prostate that did not reveal any prostate cancer. Conversely, roughly 15 percent of men with prostate cancer go undetected because their PSA levels are below the cutoff level.
In a study published in the April issue of the journal Urology, Getzenberg and his team note, 'A blood test based on EPCA-2 may greatly improve our ability to accurately detect prostate cancer early and minimize the number of false positives, therefore lowering the number of unnecessary biopsies.'
Getzenberg also points out, 'In addition, this is the first time we have a test that effectively distinguishes between men with cancer confined to the prostate and those whose disease has spread outside of the gland.'
'We hope this will minimize the number of unnecessary biopsies,' he adds.
EPCA-2 is the second prostate-cancer marker identified by Getzenberg and his team that has outperformed PSA. Last year, they discovered an unrelated, tissue-based test, EPCA-1, that also proved effective at identifying prostate cancer. The only commonality between these markers is that they were discovered using the same approach. Getzenberg says the efficacy of EPCA-1 as a test of biopsy samples is currently being evaluated.
Larger clinical trials for EPCA-2 are planned that could make this test available to the public in approximately 18 months.
Prostate cancer is diagnosed in about 230,000 American men each year, and about 30,000 die of it. The death rate is 2.5 times higher among blacks than among whites.
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