New prostate cancer test offers hope

24 February 2011

Scientists in Switzerland have developed a new blood test that could be used to boost cancer diagnosis rates - particularly in patients suffering from the early stages of prostate cancer.

The team of researchers has defined a set of biomarkers in the blood serum which indicate the presence of prostate cancer, the most common form of the disease in the western world.

And the test only requires the smallest drop of blood.

The research was carried out by cancer specialists at the Federal Institute of Technology and University Hospital, both in Zurich, and the Cantonal Hospital of St Gallen.

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers said: "Our approach suggests a general path to rational cancer biomarker discovery and initial validation guided by cancer genetics."

Recent research conducted by scientists in France and Canada has shown a link exists between early baldness in men and their risk of developing prostate cancer.

1 Krek, Wilhelm at al. "Cancer genetics-guided discovery of serum biomarker signatures for diagnosis and prognosis of prostate cancer". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Tuesday, February 22nd 2011.

2 Giraud, Philippe et al. "Male pattern baldness and the risk of prostate cancer". Annals of Oncology. Tuesday, February 15th 2011.

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy is © Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated.

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A Spire surgeon comments

For Shiv Bhanot, consultant urological surgeon at Spire Hartswood and Spire Roding Hospitals in Essex, it’s always a relief when men present early with this disease.

"Of course, early detection is the key to reducing deaths due prostate cancer," says Mr Bhanot. "However, early detection also means that we can offer treatment such as nerve-sparing laparoscopic prostatectomy which gives the best chance of retaining sexual potency and continence. We are not only saving lives per se, but are able to save men's sex lives like never before."



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