Antigen successfully detects early stages of PCa

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Early prostate cancer antigen (EPCA) successfully detects prostate cancer in its earliest stages, according to a Johns Hopkins study published in Cancer Research (2005 65:4097-100).

Early prostate cancer antigen (EPCA) successfully detects prostate cancer in its earliest stages, according to a Johns Hopkins study published in Cancer Research (2005 65:4097-100).

Researchers developed a simple test that would detect EPCA in the blood and then measured the EPCA levels in 16 healthy individuals plus 46 patients, including those with prostate cancer (12 patients), bladder cancer (six patients), colon cancer (two patients), kidney cancer (one patient), spinal cord injury (seven patients), and noncancerous prostate inflammation (two patients).

EPCA levels were high in 11 of 12 prostate cancer patients and low in all healthy individuals. Only two bladder cancer patients had elevated EPCA levels. None of the other patients showed elevation. Investigators found the test to be correct 94% of the time.

"This new blood test, when coupled with PSA screening, may help reduce the number of both unnecessary biopsies and undetected prostate tumors," said lead author Robert H. Getzenberg, PhD.

Larger clinical trials are under way to further refine the EPCA test, Dr. Getzenberg said.

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