Genetic test may reduce need for repeat prostate biopsy

August 1, 2012

A recently developed genetic test to predict a man's risk for prostate cancer could reduce the need for repeat biopsies in men who have had a negative biopsy, data from a new study indicate.

A recently developed genetic test to predict a man’s risk for prostate cancer could reduce the need for repeat biopsies in men who have had a negative biopsy, data from a new study indicate.

Results of the study were published online in European Urology (May 12, 2012).

“The genetic test outperformed the PSA test in assessing cancer risk,” said co-investigator Karim Kader, MD, PhD, of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. “If results of this blood test were factored into prostate cancer predictors such as total free PSA, free PSA, number of core samples taken at biopsy, and family history, we would have a more accurate picture of whether or not a man is likely to develop the sometimes fatal disease.”

Dr. Kader and researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC evaluated 1,654 men in the Reduction by Dutasteride of Prostate Cancer Events (REDUCE) clinical trial. All the men had biopsies and consented to genetic studies that looked for the presence of germline single nucleotide polymorphisms.

“Avoiding repeat procedures, particularly in older men, can help reduce the risk of infection and potential hospitalizations,” said Dr. Kader. “The genetic score is available at any time in a man’s lifetime and could be used as a pre-screening test, thus leaving aggressive PSA screening to men at a higher genetic risk.”

One of the study’s co-authors is an employee of GlaxoSmithKline.