Queen Mary University | September 2019 | New blood test for prostate cancer is highly-accurate and avoids invasive biopsies
A blood test developed by experts at Queen Mary University marks a ‘paradigm shift’ in the way prostate cancer is diagnosed.
The new prostate cancer test detects early cancer cells, or circulating tumor cells (CTCs), that have left the original tumour and entered the bloodstream prior to spreading around the body. By measuring intact living cancer cells in the patient’s blood, rather than the PSA protein which may be present in the blood for reasons other than cancer, it potentially provides a more accurate test for prostate cancer.
The study tested the use of the CTC test in 98 pre-biopsy patients and 155 newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients enrolled at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London.
The research team found that the presence of CTCs in pre-biopsy blood samples were indicative of the presence of aggressive prostate cancer, and efficiently and non-invasively predicted the later outcome of biopsy results.
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 over 90 per cent accuracy, better than any previously reported biomarkers.
Additionally, the number and type of CTCs present in the blood was also indicative of the aggressiveness of the cancer. Focusing on more aggressive prostate cancer may reduce over-treatment and unnecessary biopsies for benign and non-aggressive conditions.
(Source Queen Mary University)
Full reference: Xu, L. | 2019|Non-invasive Detection of Clinically Significant Prostate Cancer Using Circulating Tumor Cells | Journal of Urology | https://doi.org/10.1097/JU.0000000000000475
PSA testing results in unnecessary biopsy and over-diagnosis with consequent over-treatment. Tissue biopsy is an invasive procedure, associated with significant morbidity. More accurate non- or minimum-invasive diagnostic approaches should be developed to avoid unnecessary prostate biopsy and over-diagnosis. We investigated the potential of using circulating tumor cell analysis in cancer diagnosis, particularly in predicting clinically significant prostate cancer in pre-biopsy patients.
Material and Methods:
We enrolled 155 treatment naïve prostate cancer patients and 98 pre-biopsy patients for circulating tumor cell numeration. RNA was extracted from circulating tumor cells from 184 patients for gene expression analysis. Kruskal-Wallis, Spearman’s rank, multivariate logistic regression and random forest were applied to assess the association of circulating tumor cells with aggressive prostate cancer.
In localized prostate cancer patients, 54% were scored as circulating tumor cell positive, which was associated with higher Gleason score ( p=0.0003), risk group ( p<0.0001) and clinically significant prostate cancer. In pre-biopsy group, positive circulating tumor cell score in combination with PSA predicted clinically significant prostate cancer with AUC=0.869. A 12-gene panel prognostic for clinically significant prostate cancer was also identified. Combining PSA level, circulating tumor cell-score and the 12-gene panel, AUC for clinically significant prostate cancer prediction was 0.927 and in cases with multi-parametric MRI data, adding these to multi-parametric MRI significantly increased the prediction accuracy.
Circulating tumor cell analysis has the potential to significantly improve patient stratification by PSA and/or multi-parametric MRI for biopsy and treatment.
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