How can we successfully and accurately detect prostate cancer?

More than 10,000 men die from prostate cancer every year in the UK. It’s one of the most common cancers in men, yet we still don’t have a national screening program.

The best test for prostate cancer currently available is a PSA test. Unfortunately, this test can be unreliable and prone to false positives. This can create debilitating stress on the patient due to false alarms and sometimes result in unnecessary invasive biopsies and treatments.

Charities like Prostate Cancer UK advise people to be aware of the risk factors and known symptoms. It’s also a good idea to chat to your doctor about your risk of prostate cancer and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

A viable solution to detect prostate cancer earlier

It’s clear that we need a more reliable and accurate test for prostate cancer. Between our PanTum Detect blood test and a newly proposed algorithm that could predict prostate cancer — we could have the solution.

Our PanTum Detect test can detect more than 40 types of cancer, including prostate cancer. It’s a simple blood test that uses EDIM technology – making it efficient and cost-effective.

By identifying two unique biomarkers, studies have shown PanTum Detect can detect tumours anywhere in the body with a sensitivity of 97.5% and can rule out healthy individuals with 99.05% specificity: the first to achieve this high level of accuracy for multiple cancers.

The PanTum Detect test could help doctors prioritise patients and pinpoint the cause of non-specific symptoms.

Alongside the PanTum Detect test, if a patient is at risk of prostate cancer specifically, new technology could help patients receive a faster diagnosis.

A recent study outlines the development of an algorithm that can estimate a person’s risk of developing prostate cancer. The algorithm combines the patient’s age and the levels of two specific prostate cancer markers, PSA and hK2 (human kallikrein peptidase).

The researchers tested whether the algorithm could predict prostate cancer by comparing the blood samples of 571 men who died following a prostate cancer diagnosis and 2,169 men who were never diagnosed with the disease.

The study used data collected from blood samples of more than 21,000 men from a BUPA study about 40 years ago. The researchers discovered that by using both the hK2 and the PSA markers, they could create a more accurate test.

The results showed the algorithm could reduce the number of false positives by three quarters, compared to the PSA test, and still flag the same number of patients with prostate cancer.

Professor Sir Nicholas Wald, the lead author, adds:

 “A key drawback of screening for prostate cancer using a PSA test alone is the higher risk of a false positive, which can lead to an unnecessary, invasive biopsy and the unnecessary treatment of a clinically insignificant cancer that would not have caused harm anyway.

“Our study shows a different screening approach could reduce the number of false positives by three quarters. This would make screening for prostate cancer safer and more accurate, reducing overdiagnosis and overtreatment.”

Men estimated to have a 1 in 20 or greater risk of developing prostate cancer in the next five years would test as “screen positive”.

The next step for this technology will be to run a pilot project inviting healthy men for screening. Then, if it is successful, it could become part of a new screening programme for all men.

If GPs had access to a simple blood test for early cancer detection as the first point of information and other non-invasive tools, like this algorithm and MRIs – an accurate cancer diagnosis could be delivered quicker and easier.

It is our hope that the NHS and leading oncologists will help make these crucial tests available to everyone as soon as possible. It’s time to revolutionise the approach to cancer diagnosis and prioritise ground-breaking technologies.

If you would like to partner with RMDM or find out more about PanTum Detect, please get in touch via our contact form.