Scientists have created a blood test that can screen for prostate cancer with 94 per cent accuracy.
When combined with a typical standard prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, the new screening method offers “significantly” improved prostate cancer diagnosis, the authors write.
With a small amount of blood, the new test gave a positive test result with 92 per cent accuracy among the 147 men tested, compared to 14 per cent accuracy with the standard method. The new test gave a negative test result with 94 per cent accuracy.
According to Health Canada, some doctors choose to not rely solely on the typical PSA screening due to its inaccuracy. This has led to more invasive tests involving biopsies and MRIs being done in men without cancer.
In 2022, prostate cancer killed 13 men on average each day in Canada. It accounted for 10 per cent of cancer deaths and 20 per cent of all diagnoses in men.
“Only about a quarter of people who have a prostate biopsy due to an elevated PSA level are found to have prostate cancer,” Pchejetski said.
The study notes the standard method leads not only to unnecessary tests but “false reassurance in some men with cancer.”
The new test promises a rapid, minimally invasive and inexpensive way to get more accurate results. In addition to looking for PSAs, it employs EpiSwitch technology to look for biomarkers in blood cells across five genes that can predict cancer.
The researchers will look to expand the test to more people at minimal risk of prostate cancer.